Your Health: July 10, 2013 Some cats' feces may be harmful to - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: July 10, 2013 Some cats' feces may be harmful to your health

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Birmingham, AL -

   Cat owners listen up!   Your cat's droppings maybe harmful to your health and your neighbors'.
     Experts warn, parasites in cat droppings may pose a potential public health problem.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cats leave about 1.2 million metric tons of feces in the environment in the United States alone each year.
     The CDC says, some of that waste contains an infectious parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which has recently caused toxoplasmosis epidemics in otherwise healthy people, not only in pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems.
     Women newly infected during pregnancy can pass the toxoplasmosis infection to unborn children with possible severe consequences such as diseases of the eyes and nervous system.
     Research has also linked T. gondii to schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, brain cancer and even children having trouble in school.
     Experts add the concern is more about outdoor cats, rather than indoor cats.
     Research has shown that backyards and communities may contain hundreds of the Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in a square foot in places where cats frequently leave feces, according to the journal, Trends in Parasitology.
     The study appears in the latest issue of Trends in Parasitology.

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