Letters 2-6-2013


Feral Cats

The diseases they can transmit to humans

Recently I read medical research’s new findings about Toxoplasma condii (T. condii or Toxo, for short), that I feel I have to share with the public.

It has long been known that this parasite had very grave consequences for the unborn child of a mother who cleaned out the cat litter while being pregnant.

This latest research though shows this parasite is even much more devastating to an individual whose immune system is weakened.

Not only can people be infected by the feces of cats or rodents, but also by drinking water that has been contaminated by the feces, eating unwashed vegetables or eating raw or undercooked meats. The latter is especially a favorite of the French, and their infection rate can be as high as 55 percent. Americans will be happy to hear the parasite resides in far fewer of them, but a still in a substantial portion, 10 to 20 percent.

The following are the health issues these parasites create: Schizophrenia, autoimmune disease, hyperactivity, addictive behavior and recklessness and a higher suicide rate. People who tested positive for the virus, as two studies showed, were two and half times as likely to be in traffic accidents as uninfected peers.

Having worked as a registered nurse in hospitals and later for the public health department, I naturally have the greatest interest in shielding the people from illnesses by making them aware of them.

I believe it is unconscionable that the state and county to allow feral cats to run wild in public parks, exposing the public — especially children, who are more vulnerable — to these dreadful diseases.

As of this date, there is no cure for Toxoplasma condii.

I feel awful when I walk at the Old Kona Airport Park in Kailua-Kona and see little children play in areas where I also have seen cats defecate.

To the public health department: Please use your authority and disallow feral cats at the public parks

Ursula R. Ekern, R. N.

Kailua-Kona