Toxo (toxoplasmosis [tok-so-plaz-mo-sis]) mainly affects the brain. It causes headache, confusion, fever, seizures, poor coordination, eye pain, problems seeing, and nausea. It can be spread in two ways:
- by eating undercooked meat
- by touching cat poop that has toxo germs in it
- Don't eat undercooked or raw red meat. Cook meat until its inside temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook meat until it's no longer pink in the center. Red meat is also safe from toxo if it has been frozen for at least 24 hours, smoked, or cured. Chicken, other fowl, and eggs almost never contain toxo. But you should still cook these foods until well done.
- Take special care if you have a cat. You do not need to give up your cat.
- Ask someone who does not have HIV and is not pregnant to change the litter box every day. This will help get rid of any toxo germs before they can hurt you. If you must clean the box yourself, wear gloves and wash your hands well with soap and water right after changing the litter.
- Keep your cat indoors to prevent it from hunting.
- Feed your cat only cat food or cook all meat thoroughly before giving it to your cat.
- If you adopt or buy a cat, get one that is healthy and at least 1 year old.
- Avoid stray cats and kittens. They are more likely than other cats to have toxo.
- Wash your hands well after touching raw meat and after gardening, yard work, and other outdoor activities.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables well before eating them raw.