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The discovered parasite can infect billions of people around the globe

Friday, May 20, 2022, 6:09 a.m.

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Recently, a study conducted in Australia by scientists among more than 5,000 people sounded the alarm after discovering a major infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which comes from cats. It is probably the most successful parasite in the world today and can infect billions of people.

The infection comes mainly from cats, and the disease caused by this parasite can lead to the creation of scars behind the eye, even leading to complete vision loss, according to Live Science.

Worldwide, it is estimated that up to 50% of people are infected with Toxoplasma, and infections can increase. A recent study by Adelaide Medical University, published on May 11, 2022 in the journal Retina Ophthamology, shows that 66% of the Western Australian community is infected.

The cat is the main host of the Toxoplasma parasite, it becomes infected when it eats a sick prey. Then the parasites pass into the feces and can survive for a long time in the environment.

When feces are ingested by animals during grazing, the parasites reach the muscles and survive there, after the animals are slaughtered for meat. People can get infected by eating this meat or eating fresh produce or drinking dirty water infected by cats.

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The infection can cause inflammation of the retina and its permanent scarring. This disease is known as ocular toxoplasmosis.

It should be noted that so far, there is no drug that can eradicate the parasite from the body. And we have no vaccine in the world for human use against this parasite.

Medical research shows that toxoplasmosis usually affects healthy adults. And in the elderly or with a weakened immune system, the disease can be more serious. If the inflammation of the retina progresses to the scar, it can lead to total loss of vision.

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An examination of the retina by a specialist is necessary to diagnose ocular toxoplasmosis. Treatment with anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic drugs is usually prescribed.

The manifestations of the disease depend on the age, health and genetics of the infected individual and the strain, load and shape of the parasite, as well as environmental factors. The infection is not curable, but it can be prevented. Cooking meat at a temperature of 66 degrees Celsius or freezing it before cooking kills the parasite.

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