A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested a link between Toxoplasma Gondii infection (a parasite commonly carried by cats) and schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder affecting more than 2 million Americans that is characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that about 20% of the U.S. population have antibodies to T. gondii, indicating that they have had exposure to the parasite either from eating undercooked pork or beef, or from exposure to cat feces.
According to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, people exposed to the parasite had a 24% higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
Researches hope that this association can help give insight into both the diagnosis of and treatment of schizophrenia. There are many unanswered questions at this time.
What can you do? Wash your hands when gardening or after cleaning the litter box or having exposure to cat feces. Eat only pork and beef that is adequately cooked.
To read the full story, go to: The Possible Link Between Cats and Schizophrenia in People.
For more information on diseases that you can catch from your cat, go to Diseases you Can Catch from Your Cat. This information is not meant to frighten you but to make you aware of the possibilities. The best thing you can do is to ensure that you maintain good hygiene – wash your hands well and teach others in your home (especially kids) to do the same.