Home Health and Fitness Humans Might Be Fueling the Spread of a Cat-Loving Parasite

Humans Might Be Fueling the Spread of a Cat-Loving Parasite

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humans may have contributed An epidemic of a cat-loving spirit-altering parasite called toxoplasma gondii, suggests a new study this week. The study found that domestic and wild cats were more likely to carry the parasite in areas with high human populations.

T. Gondi is a unicellular protozoan parasite. Complex and notorious lifecycle. Cats are the only primary host, but cats can be infected by scenic routes. The parasite, which ends up in cats, infects certain intermediate hosts, especially rodents, to manipulate their behavior, making them more reckless and more likely to be eaten by cats. Once inside, T. Gondi Once fully mature, the next generation of eggs will be born, and the eggs will be expelled into the environment by the cat, and the terrifying chain of events will begin all over again.

in the meantime T. Gondi It can infect almost any warm-blooded animal, including humans, although it may prefer to be swallowed by rodents and other animals that are commonly preyed on by cats. These unintended hosts are a dead end for the parasite, but can still pose problems for those who are unlucky enough to become infected with the parasite. In humans, it is usually benign, but in some cases it can cause an acute, life-threatening infection called toxoplasmosis.And research has shown that chronic T. Gondi Infection can affect behavior and brain health human and other big animalsIf only on a more subtle level than rodents.

far-reaching impact T. Gondi With that as an important research theme, bAccording to the authors of this new study, published At PLOS-One Wednesday, there are few studies investigating human-driven or anthropomorphic factors that may be influencing the spread of the parasite.

The authors reviewed dozens of previous studies conducted around the world that tracked molting frequency in domestic and feral cats. T. Gondi It contains eggs in its poop, which it uses as a surrogate for environmental spread of the parasite. Next, we analyzed the characteristics of where the cats pooped.

Overall, the team found a clear association between higher proportions. T. Gondi Cats living in areas with high environmental and human population densities.

Cats may have gotten along well before befriending (or just putting up with) humans, but our partnerships in the past have been about ten thousand years Arguably, they have become even more abundant. So the following makes sense: As cats have expanded their territory, so have the parasites they carry.But something else could be going on T. Gondi They are more successful in densely populated areas, the authors say.

Our cities, for example, are probably safer places to live for free-ranging and feral cats than wild ones. Furthermore, the city It may contribute to an increase in rodent populations, increasing the chances of the parasite infecting and eventually reaching cats. And even roads and other structures can allow runoff of surface water. T. Gondi Lays eggs more extensively and effectively than usual.

Another factor may be climate change. The authors could not find a clear association between increasing temperatures and increasing temperatures. T. Gondi The study looked at prevalence, which was found to lie between its existence and the greater mean variation in daily temperature.Other research suggested Higher temperatures may increase risk T. Gondi human infection,bFurther research will be done at this time to test possible links between climate change and parasites, the authors say.

In any case, the results of this study seem to provide another reason to keep domestic cats indoors and do more to reduce the number of feral cats in urban areas.

“Management of free-ranging domestic cats may reduce the burden of environmental oocysts due to their large numbers and affinity with human settlements,” the authors write.

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