Many Exposed: Parasite That Can Kill, Cause Vision Issues Found In New York
Health officials are worried that many Hudson Valley residents were recently exposed to a parasite that can kill, or cause miscarriages and vision issues.
On Wednesday, the Westchester County Department of Health confirmed officials investigating two cases of toxoplasmosis, an infection with a parasite, and issued an "urgent public health alert."
Urgent Public Health Alert: Toxoplasmosis Exposure Warning Issued for Two Game Dinners Held at the American Legion in Mount Kisco
People often get the infection from eating undercooked meat. You can also get it from contact with cat feces, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The two people who got sick and others exposed attended two game dinners held on Friday, January 19, and Saturday, January 20, at the Moses Taylor Jr. American Legion Post in Mount Kisco.
"The Health Department recommends that all individuals who ate food at, or ate leftovers from these game dinners contact their doctor about potential exposure to toxoplasmosis, an illness caused by a parasite," the Westchester County Department of Health stated in a press release
Toxoplasmosis Can Cause Miscarriages, Death, Vision Issues
Toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects or miscarriages in pregnant women.
It can be deadly for people with a weakened immune system, or result in prolonged visual deficits in those with eye symptoms, according to health officials.
"The Health Department is also asking that anyone who is pregnant, immunosuppressed, experiencing visual changes or eye symptoms, or any other symptoms call the Health Department at 914-813-5180 during business hours and 914-813-5000 after hours," the Westchester County Department of Health added.
A healthy person’s immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness, but some healthy people with the parasite develop a flu-like illness that lasts a few weeks with symptoms that can include muscle aches, headache, fever with chills and sweats, tiredness, sore throat or swollen lymph nodes. Long-term effects, such as vision problems, are also possible.
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