Part of the reason for this increase could be attributed to people consuming raw or undercooked meat from infected livestock. The parasite is also commonly associated with cats.
“Studies around the world show that 30-50% of the world’s population is infected with Toxoplasma, but although we knew this, we did not know how common the associated eye disease was,” said Professor Justine, author of the Flinders University study. Black-smith.
The retina of the eye – the part of the eye that generates vision – is most vulnerable to disease, according to Smith.
“Although there is no cure or vaccine, the symptoms of toxoplasmosis vary depending on the age, health and genetics of the infected individual,” she said.
“Many people are asymptomatic, but the most common disease we see clinically is retinal inflammation and scarring known as ocular toxoplasmosis.”
The WA study was the first effort to find out the rate of ocular toxoplasmosis in Australia, assessing the retinas of more than 5,000 people.
The parasite is most commonly associated with cats, but many other animals are infected via unclean environments, including areas with Australian cows.
“Given Australia’s large population of feral cats known to be infected, as well as high levels of animal husbandry and meat-rich diets, it is imperative that we understand the prevalence of the disease across the country,” said said Smith.
Finders University researchers have sounded the alarm and are urging people to understand the risks of eating raw meat.
“We need people to know this disease exists, so they can make informed decisions about how they prepare and eat their meet,” Smith said.
“The parasite can be killed easily by cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 66 degrees Celsius or by freezing it before cooking.”