Is it true that toxoplasmosis partially blinded two Turkish women?

2 women partially blinded by toxoplasmosis?
2 women partially blinded by toxoplasmosis? Photo from hurriyetdailynews.com – Chemist Gizem Yalçın on left
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A Turkish online newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, reports that toxoplasmosis has caused partial blindness in two Turkish women. Both women come from the Western province of Izmir. One woman loves cats and the other is allergic to them.

“A cat-borne parasite has caused two Turkish women to lose their eye sights”

One woman is a 26-year-old chemist, Gizem, the other is a 24-year-old beauty expert. The former, we are told, almost lost the use of her right eye because of contracting toxoplasmosis. The beauty expert also noticed that she could not see during professional training.

Subsequently, both women were diagnosed as suffering with Toxoplasma gondii at a research hospital.

It’s not clear how they picked up the protozoan. The important aspect of this case is that the report does not provide us with a firm connection between toxoplasmosis in the women mentioned and their partial blindness.

The point that I’m making is that we don’t know for sure whether the blindness is due to toxoplasmosis as reported. We don’t know what specific damage to the eye caused the blindness. I would have helped to know. If their partial blindness is due to this parasite (which is possible) the question remains as to how they became exposed to it. The tissue form of the parasite can be transmitted to people through eating contaminated food, which is the normal route, or ingesting oocysts after e.g. cleaning a cat’s litter box. The oocysts can be shed from the faeces, get onto the person’s hands and then into their mouth.

It seems likely that the woman who is allergic to cats became infected through eating undercooked meat of some sort rather than, as suggested, that she may have eaten food that a cat or cats may have touched. This must be much more likely because she is not around cats. If this is the case it is about people taking precautions. Yes, I realise that the cat is in the cycle but the people concerned could do more to prevent transmission.

The woman who loves cats admit to petting stray cats. This of itself does not provide anywhere near enough evidence to support the argument that she has ingested oocysts on her hands after petting cats. Once again, I stress that the normal route is through eating undercooked pork, beef, mutton or veal or unpasteurised dairy products which contain toxoplasma organisms. The newspaper report does not mention this and neither does the newspaper refer to any firm causal evidence that this parasite caused the blindness.

Why am I writing this? To defend the cat wherever necessary. I am simply saying we need more to prove a direct causal connection between cats and the partial blindness of these women.

13 thoughts on “Is it true that toxoplasmosis partially blinded two Turkish women?”

    • The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has the following web page on this matter, which is enlightening and down to earth: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/resources/printresources/catowners_2017.pdf wherein you’ll find little tidbits like “cats usually
      do not carry the parasite on their fur” and other reassuring facts that differ from the misleading, fear-inducing rantings of Mr. annonomous (aka Woody) a life-long obsessed cat-hater.

      Reply
    • Except it’s neither fake nor theory. Per the CDC toxoplasmosis is the leading cause of pathogenic blindness. It’s dangerously irresponsible for Broad to equivocate on this KNOWN health hazard. And it’s equally irresponsible for you to engage in denial about it. But then, irresonsible has become pretty much a synonym for cat lobbyist.

      Reply
  1. You’re right Michael. My take on it is that with the hundreds of millions (billions?) of people handling cats and their litter constantly with no such problem, this would have had more notice or concern given it than by the much fewer numbers of cat haters who look to blame cats for something, anything. Black cats still don’t cause bad luck, nor do cats steal baby’s breath. They do secretly want to rule the world but who doesn’t?

    Reply
    • The most common way that people become infected today is airborne oocysts shed by cats. Once they dry out it is as easy as breathing the air wherever cats are. And even if contracted from foods that humans eat, those foods were still infected by oocysts shed by cats. Cats are the one and only source. I’m surprised that you people are all amazed over just 2 reported cases of T. gondii caused blindness. T. gondii is the primary cause of blindness in humans in all countries. Feigning stupidity and ignorance does become you.

      Reply
    • The saying that cats steal a baby’s breath has real origins. A woman’s unborn child that is miscarried or still-born due to cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites is the same as “stealing a baby’s breath”. It’s not a myth, it’s just another way of saying that cats cause the deaths of human infants.

      Reply
      • What a deluded, boring, ignoramus you are Anon. Do you still believe the fairy tales your parent reads you from outside the door of your locked basement?

        How the hell you got to physical maturity with your low IQ is inexplicable.

        *Ups Anon’s dose of Largactil & orders stronger ECT’

        Reply
    • Romaine lettuce has probably killed more people this year that cats infecting people critically with this parasite. Most people will never know they had this parasite and will get over it. A few will have flu symptoms. Severe infections that are treated usually respond. I would like to know how long these women struggled with obvious ocular symptoms before seeking treatment. Realistically a well cared for house cat isn’t going to carry the parasite and even if they were you’d pretty much need to be consuming the litter to contract it. Wear gloves and wash your hands. Woody must get a woody when he hears about a cat that may or may not have transmitted toxoplasmosis to a human. Cat haters are going to hate.

      Reply
      • Well said!

        Romaine lettuce and many of other fruit and veg are main causes of it too. Poor food hygiene is behind many types of infection for humans (and other animals)

        No one mentions dogs in the equation either, they carry it, they spread it. But, oh the sainted, canine slave of humans shall never be blamed!

        I’m not so sure Woody has the means to get a ‘woody’, the tackle may be missing, hence its anger 🙂

        Reply

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