Cat bug may increase your odds of a road accident

June 10th, 2009 - 2:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 10 (ANI): If you’re infected with a common parasite, called toxoplasma, then chances are that you’ll crash your car, concludes a new study.

A new study has found toxoplasma, or toxo for short, starts its life cycle in rodents. To spread, it manipulates rodents’ brains, making them reckless and more likely to be eaten by cats, which then pass on the parasite through their faeces.

People end up with the bug by catching it from eating undercooked meat from animals that had contact with cat faeces, reports New Scientist.

Besides harming fetuses, the dangerous bug can affect the brain. People with toxo seem to have slower reactions, while those who have had traffic accidents are more likely to have toxo.

Now it has emerged that toxo’s effect on the brain could be restricted to people with a certain blood type.

Jaroslav Flegr and colleagues at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, had previously discovered that toxo affected reaction times mostly in people whose blood type was rhesus negative. So they monitored 3890 military drivers for 18 months.

Those who were Rh-negative and had toxo were 2.5 times as likely to have an accident as uninfected drivers who were Rh-negative, or any Rh-positive drivers.

The study has been published in BMC Infectious Diseases. (ANI)

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