Got a cat at home? That’s not a problem, except that your four-legged friend could be carrying the toxoplasma parasite. Cats can contract this parasite by eating contaminated meat like mice or uncooked meat.

To reduce the risk of having your cat pass on the parasite to you, have someone else clean the cat’s litter box. If no-one else is available to clean it, wear disposable plastic gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

You can also reduce the risk of transmission if the litter box is cleaned daily, since parasites present in cat feces take 1 to 5 days before becoming infectious. If you don’t have a cat and would like to get one, consider waiting until after you give birth.

Like to garden? Keep in mind that cats and other animals may have buried their feces in your garden. As a precautionary measure, wear gloves when gardening and when handling soil and sand. Wash your hands well after gardening and thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruit that may have been in contact with soil.

The toxoplasma parasite can also be found in raw meat. The usual methods for reducing the risk of food-borne infections can also lower the risk of toxoplasmosis. These methods are explained in the section on Preventing food-borne infections.