Cat-borne parasite blinds two Turkish women, one loving cats, the other fearing them

Cat-borne parasite blinds two Turkish women, one loving cats, the other fearing them

ISTANBUL
Cat-borne parasite blinds two Turkish women, one loving cats, the other fearing them

Chemist Gizem Yalçın (L) and the unidentified beauty expert in Turkey's İzmir

A cat-borne parasite has caused two Turkish women to lose their eye sights, local media reported Jan. 21. 

The two women from the western province of İzmir, 26-year-old chemist Gizem Yalçın and an unidentified 24-year-old beauty expert, contracted toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, which is a parasite that is only known to reproduce sexually in the cat family.

Yalçın almost lost her right eye, after noticing during a make-up session that she could not see with it. Similarly, the beauty expert noticed that she could not see while treating eyelashes during professional training.

Both women were diagnosed with Toxoplasma gondii at the Bozyaka Research Hospital where they were told that they may have contracted the parasite if they touched a cat’s waste.

Yalçın admitted that she loves cats and were sometimes careless when petting stray animals.

“There is an 80 percent eye sight loss in my right eye. I’ve had psychologically hard days. Now I’m more careful about washing my hands after petting cats,” Yalçın said.

The unidentified woman, on the other hand, has a phobia and never pets cats, but she may have eaten a dish that cats may have touched.

“I’ve lost one of my eyes completely and the other one can only see the light. I had never heard of such a disease,” she reportedly said.

Dr. Bora Yüksel from the Bozyaka Hospital said that cats may also contaminate sheep and cows, so meat should not be eaten uncooked.

“Cats should not be kissed. Human immunity is strong but it also has some deficiencies, like in this instance,” he said, adding that the current treatments can only “put pressure on the parasite but lost tissues cannot be recovered even with medical operations.”

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cats, Toxoplasma gondii, toxoplasmosis