Having anxiety over toxoplasmosis :-((38 Posts)
This is my first post so apologies if it's in the wrong section!
So I've been really paranoid about toxoplasmosis the last few months - not because we have a cat but because our neighbour's cat poos ALL over our garden! Grrrr. Especially in the flowerbeds! I suffer from severe anxiety and have done for years, and initially decided not to garden during pregnancy because I was so worried about it.
Anyway, told myself I was being irrational and today did some gardening, wore gloves and planned to wash my hands like crazy afterwards like normal. After I came in, I grabbed some cold pasta from the fridge and 5 minutes later suddenly realised I hadn't washed my hands!!! :-( I then washed them like a madwoman but I'm so worried I could have got soil on my hands when taking off the gloves and could have caught something. There was cat poo in the same flowerbed yesterday (which was removed) so there could definitely be traces.
I'm going out of my mind with worry and feel so stupid. I couldn't bear the guilt if I've harmed my baby. I guess I'm just looking for any experience with this or anyone who knows how likely it is that I've contracted something. Our neighbour's cat is pretty old (I think it's more common in younger cats) so hoping she doesn't have it. Arrrrgh.
That was meant to be reassuring not arsey!
Haha. It didn't sound arsey! Thank you. I don't whether this is just severe anxiety or a legitimate worry and I'm just so annoyed with myself. Can't believe I didn't wash my hands - must be complete baby brain.
It is a legitimate worry insofar as the condition is a serious one but the chances of you picking it up from the situation you've outlined is so slim it's probably negligible.
I do understand your worry though, when I was pregnant, health worries I could usually rationalise away to myself felt so much more important because it wasn't just about my health anymore.
That's what the gloves were for, presumably? You took them off before eating, right?
I think the chance that you got infected is very, very small.
You are worrying over nothing.
As long as you wear gloves and then wash your hands afterwards, the chances of it happening is near impossible.
Have you talked to a doctor about your anxiety? I'm just worried it could get worse when the baby is here. There is so much you could potentially fret over and it does no one any good to worry 24/7
I'm sure it'll be fine, but if it's really distressing you, ask for a toxoplasmosis test. I got very worried after eating some undercooked lamb kofta. It was a simple blood test, AFAIR, but I did have to be quite firm about wanting it; midwife was of the 'oh, you already have cats, you're probably immune' school. The overwhelming odds are that you're fine, but don't let it hang over you.
Thanks both - really appreciate your replies. Thing is, it was about 5 minutes after I had come in that I washed my hands - I just totally forgot. Obviously I didn't eat my pre-cooked pasta with my hands (!) and was using a fork but that's what's worrying me (I realised what I was eating).
I am seeing someone for my anxiety - I'm also worried it could get worse after the baby comes - hopefully it will get better!
Agree with all pp. Also, the chances are you've already had it (I googled it a lot after a similar pregnancy anxiety incident) so are immune. I got as far as going to the GP who gently pointed out that the chances of contracting toxo are v slim indeed (and I knew I had touched animal poo) and most likely I was experiencing anxiety. Definitely talk to your GP/midwife if it carries on like this.
Just seen your second post. My anxiety got better after birth!
Did you have cats or play in the garden or outdoors when you were a child? If so, chances are you contracted toxo as a child. About 33% of people have had it.
Iirc, the chances of catching it from cat shit is minuscule in any case, as cats are only contagious for three weeks after they get infected (and I think that can only happen once).
And you were wearing gloves, right?
Honestly, you will be fine.
By the way, don't they test routinely for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy nowadays? I remember checking my results in the vain hope that I would be immune and therefore able to eat rare meat. Sadly, I wasn't.
I think most people catch it from eating meat, and NOT from cats as the infection window is so narrow.
Ohhh I worried so much about this while pregnant! Now I'm not I can see how irrational I was!
Anyway, from what I remember from my extensive research is that once a cat has had toxo, it too becomes immune. Also they are contagious for about 48 hours. So an old cat would have had it earlier in life (as you say more common in younger cats) and would now immune, therefore would not have it now.
The risk of you contracting it from this incident are infinitesimal.
You were wearing gloves, the likely hood of anything on your hand is tiny.
In the VERY unlikely event that any soil was on your hand, the chances of it containing cat poo traces of tiny.
In the even unlikelier event that some had got on your hand that did have cat poo on it, the chance that said cat has toxo is unmeasurably small.
But if that RIDICULOUSLY UNLIKELY scenario did occur, then there's a fair chance you are immune anyway.
Basically, YOU AND YOUR BABY ARE FINE!!
Relax and enjoy your pregnancy
Thank you sooo much everyone - you're all so kind and have helped me calm down a lot.
fruttidibosco - thinking about each individual component of how I'd catch it does make me feel a lot better. Thank you!
Get your DH to pee all around the outside edges of your garden ... The cat won't come in!!!
Not that my DH ever did that .... How disgusting
Sometimes he peed in a bottle and spread it around the edge!
It really works !!!
Speak to your midwife. There is a blood test for toxoplasmosis, and if you have got it, there is a treatment. Your midwife can speak to you about the probability of having it and offer support generally if you are feeling anxious.
I'm a veterinary surgeon who spent years dealing with cat poo and lambing sheep. I was reasonably careful (as it sound like you have been) and was shocked to find when tested during pregnancy, that I had no immunity and therefore presumably hadn't been exposed to it.
Realistically, it sounds as if the risks are tiny. You ate with a fork and washes your hands as soon as you remembered, so i think it is highly unlikely you have anything to worry about.
Try not to worry, the risk of toxo from cat poo is very very low. Cats can only shed the parasite for about 3 weeks after they first become infected (usually as a kitten) so an older cat is very unlikely to shed toxo anyway.
As others say you can have a blood test done to see if you have already been exposed. If you already have toxo then you are not at risk, if you haven't then just continue to take precautions but don't worry too much.
I have a PhD in a closely related subject and others in my group work on toxo. If you have any specific questions just ask, it's not my speciality but I do know a bit about it.
Hi SayrraT. Great to have a scientist here. I do have a specific question, how long can toxoplasmosis live on surfaces? If you smear infected cat poo on a surface, how long will it stay there?
So sorry thingy I've reported my post. I've checked with the real toxo expert and we use domestos to inactivate other stages not oocysts. They are harder to kill, high temperature kills them. The thing to remember is that the chances of the cat poo having toxo in it is relatively low.
Another vet here that despite lots and lots of lambing (with clean but non gloved hands) was toxo negative when tested. I even treated a cat with toxo while pregnant and remained negative. It's a definite worry but rare.
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