Jun 5, 2018
Episode transcript is below pic.
Rayna Marie is a college student ready to start teaching next fall. She shared her story with us on the parasite that took up residence in her eye!
PodcastDX Toxoplasmosis Episode 10.mp3
Ron [00:00:16] Hello and welcome to podcast dx. The show that brings you interviews with people just like you whose lives were dforever changed by a medical diagnosis.
Lita [00:00:26] I'm Lita.
Ron [00:00:27] And I'm Ron.
Jean [00:00:28] And I'm Jean Marie.
Lita [00:00:30] Collectively we are the hosts of podcast dx.
Jean [00:00:34] This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regime. And never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you've heard on this podcast.
Ron [00:00:57] On today's show we will be speaking with Rayna an education major and future teacher from the Chicago suburbs. Welcome to the show Rayna.
Rayna [00:01:06] Hi. Thanks for having me.
Jean [00:01:08] Hi Rayna. Today's episode is about toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that results from an infection with a toxoplasma gondi parasite which is one of the world's most common parasites.
Rayna [00:01:21] It's so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 30 million people in the US carry the toxoplasma Gondi parasite. However most are asymptomatic because the body's immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.
Lita [00:01:37] Other common parasites our listeners may have heard of include tape worms protozoa ticks fleas lice and mites.
Ron [00:01:48] A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism its host at the host expense the parasite feeds off its hosts.
Lita [00:01:59] Well wait a minute we're hosts on podcastdx
Jean [00:02:00] Yeah. Yet another reason not to be a podcast host.
Lita [00:02:03] Ok.
Jean [00:02:03] Yeah damn you toxoplasma gondi.
Lita [00:02:10] (laughter. )
Lita [00:02:10] You know that's not what he meant. A parasitic disease is an infectious disease which is either caused or transmitted by a parasite.
Jean [00:02:19] Rayna. How can someone get infected by the toxoplasma Gondi parasite if they're not a podcast host.
Rayna [00:02:25] Well according to the Mayo Clinic there are several ways by which you can become infected. Just to name a few. Eating undercooked meat especially pork venison or lamb eating unpasteurized dairy consuming unwashed fruits and vegetables or drinking contaminated water. You can also get toxoplasmosis from an infected cat feces and that's never tasty.
Lita [00:02:46] No. Wow. No wonder it's so prevalent. So it's important to ensure that you cook your meat thoroughly before eating it. Use caution when eating unpasteurized dairy, wash or peel your fruits or vegetables and only drink bottled water. (or any safe source of water)
Jean [00:03:03] or treated water right.
Lita [00:03:04] or treated water.
Jean [00:03:05] OK.
Ron [00:03:05] And if you have cats it's important to clean their litter box every single day. And you also need to wash your hand after cleaning the box. However pregnant women should not clean a cat litter box.
Lita [00:03:19] And I may add people that have had a transplant should not clean cat litter boxes.
Rayna [00:03:26] That's a key point. Women newly infected with toxoplasma Gondi during pregnancy and anyone with a weakened immune system should be aware that toxoplasmosis can have severe consequences.
Jean [00:03:37] Right. I actually saw that the CDC says that if a woman has been infected before becoming pregnant the unborn child will be protected because the mother has developed a natural immunity to it. However if a woman is pregnant and becomes newly infected with toxoplasma Gondi during or just before pregnancy she can actually pass that infection onto her unborn baby and the damage to the unborn child is often more severe the earlier in the pregnancy. The transmission occurs and it can actually result in miscarriage a stillborn birth or a child born with signs of toxoplasmosis.
Lita [00:04:12] Infants that are infected before birth often show no symptoms at birth but may develop them later in life. These symptoms include potential vision loss, mental disability or seizures.
Ron [00:04:26] Rayna What are some of the symptoms of toxoplasmosis.
Rayna [00:04:29] Well according to the CDC most people that become infected will not even know about it. Some have flu like symptoms for a month or more. And what's more severe cases the parasitic infection can cause damage to the brain eyes or other organs.
Jean [00:04:44] Rayna, what symptoms led you to the doctor.
Rayna [00:04:47] So mine is actually ocular toxoplasmosis so I could see like floaters in my eyes and that was mainly my symptom I might have had flu like symptoms but I just probably thought it was like a flu or sickness that I had. But my main reason was because of the floaters that I could see.
Jean [00:05:06] OK.
Lita [00:05:07] Well that must have been frightening. How long did it take to get a diagnosis.
Rayna [00:05:10] So I initially went to just like a eye doctor where you would get glasses. And I told them about it. They did a vision tests and that led me to going to like a more intense eye doctor. And then they sent me to a specialist. So I went to three different doctors before I was actually diagnosed.
Jean [00:05:29] Wow.
Rayna [00:05:30] Yeah. And then from there I had to do I would kind of go often. I did a few tests and got my eyes dilated a few times and then it led to the diagnosis.
Lita [00:05:43] So you don't really know what kind of tests they did to diagnose you.
Rayna [00:05:47] I did a lot of just like standard eye tests. I would have to read lines I had to do like that when they puff the air in your eye. And then I also had to get dye in my eye so my eyes were red. I got my eyes dilated and just stuff like that. They they've heard of it before. So with the symptoms and tests they kind of knew what they were looking for.
Jean [00:06:08] OK. But it must be hard to find a single celled organism in the human body.
Rayna [00:06:12] Yes.
Lita [00:06:13] And what treatment did they prescribe.
Rayna [00:06:15] I was heavily medicated I had a lot of different prescriptions that I was on to the point where I was actually sick from the medicine. But it goes dormant, like the actual parasite goes dormant. So right now I don't have to take anything but if it ever was active again that I would be back on the medicine but for now I'm just. Not on anything.
Ron [00:06:39] Well that's good to hear.
Lita [00:06:40] Yeah.
Ron [00:06:41] Do you know are there any long term side effects from the infection.
Rayna [00:06:44] Yes and no. So according to the American associate association of optamology and Strabismus, Toxoplasma infections frequently cause swelling and subsequent scarring which may temper, temporarily or permanently impair vision worldwide toxoplasmosis is the most common cause of inflammation in the back of the eye.
Lita [00:07:06] How does someone get this ocular form of toxoplasmosis.
Rayna [00:07:11] The same way we discussed earlier. So a toxoplasma infection may be the result of a congenital infection or an infection after birth. It is an eye infection but the parasite still enters your body through modes of trans mission. We discussed earlier. So it could be undercooked meat contaminated and untreated water and the like.
Jean [00:07:32] OK. Wow. Well thank you for all this information. I think we all learned a lot today.
Ron [00:07:38] Yes definitely thank you for being here today.
Rayna [00:07:40] Yeah. Thank you for having me.
Lita [00:07:42] Ron if somebody wants to learn more about Toxoplasmosis or toxoplasma Gondi Where can they turn.
Ron [00:07:50] Well is always talk with your health care team. It's important to get routine eye exam. And here's one more reason to get your eyes checked out.
Lita [00:08:00] Well Rayna. Any last words for our listeners.
Jean [00:08:03] And then you can walk the plank.
Rayna [00:08:04] Nope that's all.
Lita [00:08:04] (laughter) Thanks again Rayna. And if our listeners have any questions or comments related to today's show they can contact us at podcast D X at yahoo dot com through our Web site podcast D X dot com on Facebook Twitter Pinterest and Instagram.
Ron [00:08:23] And if you have a moment to spare please give us a five star review on the itunes podcast app.
Lita [00:08:29] budup dup dup.
Jean [00:08:29] And thanks Dom. (our sound technician)
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