Parasites Toxoplasmosis has gained a somewhat memetic reputation in recent years because its primary carriers are cats and its primary transmission vector is, well, cat poop. Toxoplasmosis has been linked to everything from changes in sexual proclivities to higher rates of car accidents in recent decades, and a recent study found a link between childhood cat ownership and psychosis in adulthood. According to recent research, anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of the global population is infected, and that percentage may be as high as 66 percent according to a recent community-based study.
Floaters with ToxoplasmosisThe parasite can also be transmitted through undercooked meat, which frequently attacks the retina, and ocular toxoplasmosis is one of the most common diseases caused by Toxoplasma gondii. It can cause “floaters” that obscure vision and lead to vision loss, as well as scar the back of the eyeball. An analysis of the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study in Western Australia, which took retinal photographs of over 5,000 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964, discovered that one in 150 the eyeball photos showed signs of scarring from ocular toxoplasmosis.
As they noted, there is currently no drug or vaccine to treat or prevent toxoplasmosis infection, and with its estimated rates of prevalence in the global population, Toxoplasma is the parasitic pack leader. Researchers hope that the experimental toxoplasmosis vaccines that have been appearing in recent years will reach pharmacies and veterinarians sooner rather than later, because the last thing we need is a parasite in our eyes.