Toxoplasmosis gondii, a zoonotic protozoan that causes flulike symptoms in some people and severe brain damage in human fetuses, is most often contracted via ingestion of raw or undercooked meat but can also be transmitted via contact with infected cat feces, writes veterinarian Lawrence Gerson. However, it's not necessary for pregnant women, or those considering becoming pregnant, to give their cats away, Dr. Gerson writes. Instead, following common-sense hygiene habits will protect women and others from contracting the parasite.

Related Summaries