Toxoplasma gondii is a microbe. Toxoplasma starts its life cycle as an egg inside the intestines of a cat (or another feline); rats and mice habitually feed on the cat’s excrements and may ingest the eggs. Mammals, birds, and fish that consume infected animals or ingest contaminated water get infected too. Eating their meat undercooked is by far the most typical, though not the only (for a review, see Tenteret al., 2000), way of contracting the parasite for us.
Close proximity with Cat or mice may increase chances of getting this infection. It is common infection in 50% of developed nations and less common in vegetarian nations like India.
This microbes from Cat infects our brain. It results into workplace and traffic accidents (possibly because it renders one less careful and slows down reaction time), depression, suicides,changes in personality, and various mental and neurological diseases, including bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
In particular, Toxoplasma infection raises the probability of developing schizophrenia 2.7 times, and is thereby the largest known single risk factor of the disorder—larger than any of the currently known genetic and environmental ones (for a meta-analysis, see Torrey,Bartko, Lun, & Yolken, 2007)
Now visit the old कहावत : “काली बिल्ली रास्ता काटे तो अपशकुन होता है।” What is अपशकुन ? Failure in desired mental/physical actions.
Was this instruction given to save us from possible Toxoplasma gondii infection so that we do not suffer from mental disorders which can hamper success of our duties? 🙂
Sayings are not always blind beliefs. They are societal conclusions based on several generations observations. Not a worth to reject straight away with our shallow educated rational minds. 😉
PS: This does not mean we start hating cats. It is just that, we must take care of washing hands and legs when the local area is full of stray dogs and cats. (Nowadays, we don’t have such setup. Our bathrooms and washrooms are way behind the curtains of bedroom! 😀 . In ideal home setup, entrance must have wash-area )
The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii(T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes. Since the 1920s, doctors have recognized that a woman who becomes infected during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus, in some cases resulting in severe brain damage or death. T. gondii is also a major threat to people with weakened immunity: in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before good antiretroviral drugs were developed, it was to blame for the dementia that afflicted many patients at the disease’s end stage. Healthy children and adults, however, usually experience nothing worse than brief flu-like symptoms before quickly fighting off the protozoan, which thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells—or at least that’s the standard medical wisdom.
Toxoplasma Gondii, Parasite In Cat Feces, Linked To Schizophrenia And Other Mental Illness
Cats — especially stray or outdoor ones — may carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) in their feces. This parasite is able to infect any warm-blooded animal, including humans; the CDC estimates that some 60 million Americans have it. Most people don’t show any symptoms of the infection, but people with a weaker immune system could get sick with toxoplasmosis, which has been linked to miscarriage, fetal developmental disorders, blindness, and flu-like symptoms.