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Do all cat owners have it? The world prevalence of toxomoplasmosis is 33% so it's extremely common. Even though it's supposedly asymptomatic and harmless I've read journal articles speculating that the infection can cause personality changes and suicidal behaviour. It literally takes over your brain, and it's permanent. There's no cure.

Since sanitation levels are generally pretty high in western countries, the most common route of transmission is cat poop. Since cat owners clean cat poop everyday, are they likely to have the disease?

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    It can't cause suicides in cat owners...you need to stay to feed the cat. – Oldcat Feb 18 '15 at 18:55
  • @Oldcat In briefly reading studies, is can cause some serious mental problems in humans, many linked to suicide. Can you cite any research that would suggest otherwise? – Jestep Feb 18 '15 at 19:16
  • If 33 percent of the world is suicidal already, you might as well have a cat to keep you company. – Oldcat Feb 18 '15 at 19:37
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Initial research seems to indicate that there's no correlation between owning cats and contracting toxomoplasmosis.

The incidence of brain cancer appears to increase when people are exposed to Toxoplasma gondii (earlier studies linked higher serum antibodies in the population to higher levels of brain cancer), so a study was performed in the UK to see if cat owners had a higher rate of brain cancer than non-cat owners.

In total, 626 454 women aged 64 years on average at baseline were included in the analyses, among whom, 114 614 (18%) owned at least one cat.

Incidence of brain cancer was not increased in women living with a cat (RR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.62–1.24), when compared with women living with no pets. Similarly, no association was observed for all CNS tumours, or for specified glioma or meningioma (table 1). In conclusion, cat owners in a cohort of middle-aged UK women do not have an increased risk of brain cancer, when compared with non-cat owners. This, however, does not rule out the possibility that T. gondii infection from another source may be associated with brain cancer incidence.

It's theorized that a significant source of T. gondii infections may be from a source other than the cats themselves. Improperly cooked meat, unwashed vegetables and fruits, and handling contaminated soil (such as in the garden) are all known risk factors that may play a bigger role in transmitting T. gondii to humans.

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  • I recall reading something long ago, about cat poop in the gardens of people who live next door to cats and infections related to contacting cat feces while doing gardening. Does research address this or should it be a new question? – James Jenkins Feb 20 '15 at 12:32
  • @JamesJenkins this question didn't address WHERE people got T. gondii, just whether cat owners have a higher prevalence than non-cat owners – Zaralynda Feb 21 '15 at 1:48
  • The header was about everyone, so I narrowed it to the points in the questions. I will post a second question. – James Jenkins Feb 21 '15 at 10:48

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