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Toxoplasma, The Hidden Enemy

This is an interview with Prof. Dr. Edi Dharmana by Roosalina from Suara Merdeka (26 March 2007, Monday)
Translated by Silvan S. Prayogo, BSc., MSc.

(Artikel dalam Bahasa Indonesia: klik di sini)

Animal lovers, especially cat lovers, are not new to toxoplasmosis. Cats are well known as the best host to spread the germ to humans. According to Prof. dr. Edi Dharmana MSc. PhD. SpPark from the medical faculty of Diponegoro University, toxoplasma gondii infection in humans may not show any obvious symptoms. People may not realize that they have been infected by the parasite.

"That's why it is called, the hidden enemy," says Prof. Edi D who is also a cat lover.

Although an infected person may not show or experience any symptoms, the disease may have a dire consequences. Humans may be infected from the oocyst contained in the infected cat's stool (feces). These oocysts may contaminate vegetables, meat, and food.

"It would be very dangerous if the contaminated food is consumed without proper processing," Prof Edi D warns.


Prof. Edi D also emphasizes that people who often eat half-cooked meals have higher risk to be infected with toxoplasma gondii than those who consume fully cooked meals (e.g. fully cooked meat). "Because parasites in half-cooked meals are not entirely killed," Prof. Edi D explains.

Due to the fact that cats are effective media to transfer toxoplasma, many animal lovers give away their favorite animal to other people to avoid infection.

According to Prof. Edi D, a father of two daughters, animal lovers do not have to throw away their favorite animals as long as they can ensure that their animals hygiene is good.

There is someone who has 21 cats without being infected by the parasite. There are people who get infected although they do not have cats. "So, there is no guarantee that you would not get infected if you do not have a cat," Prof. Edi D stresses.

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Original article is in Indonesian (klik thumbnail di bawah ini untuk membaca artikel)




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