gardening and toxoplasmosis?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2009
gardening and toxoplasmosis?
7
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 3:40pm

Spring has sprung in Toronto, and when the weather turns warm nothing makes me feel more happy and peaceful than playing in the dirt in my garden.

But I've heard there are risks of toxoplasmosis due to cats using the garden as a litter box and I wonder what advice anyone has concerning the risks of gardening and pregnancy?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2008
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 9:08pm
I personally am not an avid gardener (not by choice, more by necessity -- my young family doesn't allow me the time or luxury to lose myself in such a fulfilling art!), but I do recall hearing something about the possibility of contracting toxoplasomosis (I think that's what it was) from infected dirt. I know that for women who have cats, it's recommended that they wear gloves when they change the litter bos; I suspect the same would be true for women digging in the dirt, but this is just a guesstimate on my part. Maybe try googling it and see what results you get. Best wishes to you.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2010
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 10:05pm

I'll reiterate what the pp said. I read that wearing gloves and washing hands

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2009
Wed, 03-10-2010 - 5:43pm

I've read and/or heard the same things as Joan and Karen mentioned with regard to toxoplasmosis. I also read that if you are already a cat owner...you may have very well already been infected and therefore have built up resistance. You didn't mention if you have a cat.

I didn't know about the difference between the indoor and outdoor cats that Karen mentioned, but I do know that my OB told me "absolutely not" when I asked if I could honor my neighbor's request to change their cat's litter while they were out of town. I have never been a cat owner since I am allergic.

We do garden at our house...especially my 5-year old and her father, but my 3-year old and I get in there too. Mostly just to weed and pick veggies...we let Daddy prep the soil..especially since we live in the country and do have feral cats that roam the neighborhood. I would wear gloves and if doing soil prep...perhaps the mask.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2008
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 10:35am

It's hype.


Your risk of contracting food or garden borne illnesses are lower than if you eat out, or if you buy all your groceries.


Just wash your hands now and then. Seriously. The stuff they come up with to try and alarm pregnant women.


They ought to think of what kinds of habits they're interfering with.


You could erroneously come up with ideas that you should only buy store bought packaged produce to have a safe pregnancy. And really, that means you're putting your trust in some anonymous factory worker who may or may not wash HIS hands before touching your veggies.

Andy, Gerard, Sarah, Merina and Emma call me Mama,


but you can call me


KelliSue


Laugh a little - www.kellikolz.blogspot.com

pregnancy

Andy, Gerard, Sarah, Merina and Emma call me Mama,


but you can call me


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2009
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 12:14pm

I'd be careful just the same.

I know that living out in the country we do have cats that roam our open (unfenced yards) and unfortunately, they do use my son and daughter's sandbox as one giant litter box.

I am pretty fanatical about cleaning out the cat poo before I let them in it, but it is a losing battle. One afternoon, I kept smelling poo (I have a different term in mind!!!!) and discovered it on my then 2-year old's shoes. UGH...double UGH! We're not pet owners so I can't even blame it on a dog!

I do make them wash hands immediately when finished playing, but like I said, it's a losing battle.

In fact, we are ditching that sandbox (a giant wooden sailboat that someone built for me and I used as a reading nook when I taught 3rd grade) for one of those small, but COVERED sandboxes that you can buy at Toys R Us.

On a related note (I'm sure I watch waaaaay too much Discovery Health) a 2-year old boy did become infected with a parasite from digging in the dirt on his property...not a sandbox. The parasite probably entered thru a cut on his finger or hand and after entering his bloodstream traveled to his eyes damaging his optic nerve. Today he is blind.

While I agree with KelliSue that foodborne illness and infections are much more likely to result from eating out in restaurants or not washing your grocery store produce adequately, the bottom line is...I'd wear gloves...pregnant or not!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2009
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 12:43pm

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

During my first pregnancy I was a vegetarian hippy chick who gardened like a maniac, digging raised beds and working barefoot and without gloves! By the time the harvest came my little Emmalyssa had been born and I had so many tomatoes I couldn't possibly pick them all. The garden was littered with splotches of red goo where the overripe tomatoes had fallen off - it looked like a bloody battleground.

But I was 29 then, and I'm 46 and a bit (just a bit!) more cautious now...and cats have definitely been using my urban garden as their toilet.

However, I recently read that many women are immune to toxoplasmosis, and that immunity can be determined through a simple blood test, so I'll ask about that at my upcoming doctors appointment.

Even if he finds that I'm immune, I'll be wearing gloves this season.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2010
Thu, 03-11-2010 - 1:30pm

>> You could erroneously come up with ideas that you should only buy store bought packaged produce to have a safe pregnancy. And really, that means you're putting your trust in some anonymous factory worker who may or may not wash HIS hands before touching your veggies.<<


Good point, Kelli Sue!

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