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Ashley Roman, MD

Q&A: What Is Toxoplasmosis?

I know I'm supposed to have my husband change the kitty litter, but why, exactly? And are there other precautions I need to take with my cat?

Dr. Ashley Roman: It all has to do with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Cats are known to be hosts to this parasite during a certain lifestyle phase. Toxoplasma gondii can cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that can cross the placenta and cause devastating effects in the fetus. Gardening or eating raw meat can also put you at risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Stay safe by wearing gloves when you garden and eating meat as well-cooked as you can tolerate.