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Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11297
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice.
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Toxoplasmosis and mental health

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Toxoplasmosis from cleaning cat littler, even with good hand washing? Can Toxoplasmosis make mental health problems worse or course them? As I am concerned about my current low mood and frequent anxiety and panic. I have also been recently bothered by intrusive thoughts that are causing me to lose sleep. If the toxo was present can it make these problems worse or cause psychotic episodes, as I have just been told on the internet?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Hello and welcome.
I am Dr. Norm, and I look forward to helping you today.

Most cases of toxoplasmosis are caused by eating undercooked meat. It might be possible, but would be unusual to get toxoplasmosis from cleaning cat litter with good hand washing. As long as the litter is cleaned daily, the cat feces are not contagious, since it takes a couple days after excretion to become contagious.

Scientists are looking into a link between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia and other mental problems, but I don't believe there is any solid proof yet of a link, and certainly not that toxoplasmosis causes mental problems.

Be careful of what you read on the internet, as muich of it is not true. The Mayo Clinic and National Library of Medicine have good sites that you can believe.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I normally cleaning when it gets dirty, not ever day because she does go outside on a night time. But I do change it regularly and always wash my hands because I do have a little OCD with cleaning my hands. I'm a vegetarian so the undercooked meat wouldn't apply to me.


I do have current anxiety and panic problems and I do have a fear of not being in control of myself especially during a seizure as I have been newly diagnosed with partial epilepsy. Which I think has caused the intrusive thoughts. When I saw that toxo could cause psychotic episodes I did panic a little.

Good hand washing is generally sufficient, but if you clean daily, it greatly decreases any risk, since the cat feces won't be infectious.

Most likely the large majority (and perhaps all) psychotic episodes have nothing to do with toxo.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Doctor I will take that advice on board.


Do you think them that psychotic episodes are likely in my case? Just looking for a little reassurance as the intrusive thoughts make me fear going to sleep.


Sorry for the delay. I was called away.

I would have to know much more about you to be able to predict the likelihood of psychotic episodes, and I'm not a psychiatrist in any case.

I think many people have intrusive thoughts, and they have nothing to do with psychosis. If you're concerned, it would be wise to see a psychiatrist.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Changing cat litter with no faeces, any risk of infection?

There is probably no risk from cat urine, and no risk from handling cats. However, if there has been cat faeces in the litter, then infection risk may be present. Even though you don't see faces, some can remain after the main part has been removed.