Is Your Pet Cat Dangerous?

   Many parasites exist in the human body that medical scientists have thought to be harmless.  Recent research appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that linked an infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii to suicide attempts in humans. 

   T. gondii has been investigated in the past as the cause of increased suicide attempts in humans and as a possible cause for schizophrenia.  The standard drug used to treat this condition is pyrimethamine.  Most adults who do not have a compromised immune system and are asymptomatic require no treatment.  However, newborn children and pregnant women with T. gondii may warrant medical attention. 

   The most common carrier of T. gondii is your pet cat.  Other animals may carry this parasite.

   Scientific classification: Domain = Eukaryots; Kingdom = Chromalveolata;  Superphylum = Alveolata;  Phylum = Apicomplexa;  Class = Conoidasida;  Subclass = Coccidiasina;  Order = Eucoccidiorida;  Genus = Toxoplasma;  Species = T. gondii.  

                                  R. Van Conoley

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