In general, toxoplasmosis is still a public health problem we should be wary of. High-risk groups that need attention are pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals, particularly people living with HIV/AIDS. Permanent disability of children due to toxoplasmosis would be a burden for families and communities due to the cost and the long time of treatment as well as the presence of child development disorders.
Not to mention the cases of HIV/AIDS disease that continue to increase from year to year become a challenge to raise awareness on toxoplasmosis. “The fast, precise move, and harmonious cooperation of all related institutions as well as support from all elements of society is indispensable for the prevention of toxoplasmosis," says Prof. Dr. drh. Sri Hartati, SU at Senate Hall on Wednesday (13/7) during her inauguration as Professor of UGM Veterinary Medicine Faculty.
In her speech Toxoplasmosis in Cats and Its Implications on Health, Sri Hartati recognizes that the zoonotic disease caused by infection of T. gondii is closely related to cats/Felidae as the definitive host. However, in reality the risk of contracting directly from a cat is very small. In general, humans are infected with T. gondii in other ways, such as by eating undercooked/ raw meat. "Therefore, people don’t have to worry to pet/care a cat as long as they are able to maintain their health," said Vice Chairman of PPDH (Veterinary Profession Education) Co-assistance Affair of the Faculty of Animal Medicine.
It is explained that the zoonosis is a unique disease because it can attack animals and humans. Therefore, cooperation between experts needs to be improved, both in human and veterinary medicine. In particular, there are needs of education about infection prevention of T. gondii for childbearing age women because toxoplasmosis in pregnant women has a very big risk to the fetus. Furthermore, it is also important to note the difference of ethnic and cultural communities for preventive action.
Therefore, according to Sri Hartati, further research is needed with regard to social culture, traditions, and beliefs (religion) against the spread of the toxoplasmosis disease. In addition, public awareness should also be improved to carry out a clean and healthy lifestyle as well as sense of responsibility to maintain the health of pets. "Because, after all, it is one efficient way to prevent toxoplasmosis," she said.