The parasite in question is Toxoplasma gondii. It is spread through contact with cat feces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. This bug resides in brain and muscle cells, and is linked to mental illness and behavioral changes.
A new study of 45,000 Denmark women indicates that those infected with T. gondii are at an increased risk of attempting suicide. The researchers stress that they can not say that the parasite cause the infected women to commit suicide, but there is a predictive association between the parasite infection and suicide attempts later in life. More research is needed to determine a possible connection between infection and suicide attempts.
One-third of the world's population is estimated to be infected with the parasite. We can become infected by
- changing an infected cat's liter box
- eating unwashed vegetables
- eating undercooked or raw meat that is infested with the parasite cysts
- drinking contaminated water
- and by not properly washing knives used to cut raw meat
To reduce your risks of infection, properly wash and cook vegetables and meats, and always wash your hands after handling liter boxes and raw meats.
Charles A. Pennison
University of Maryland: " Women Infected With Toxoplasma Gondii Parasite Have Increased Risk Of Attempting Suicide "