Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pregnancy and animals to avoid - Group B streptococcus and Inherited conditions

Avoid cats during pregnancy: Cats’ feces can contain an organism which causes toxoplasmosis. Avoid emptying cat litter trays while you are pregnant. If no one else can do it, use disposable rubber gloves. Trays should be cleaned daily and filled with boiling water for five minutes.
Avoid close contact with sick cats and wear gloves when gardening – even if you don’t have a cat – in case the soil is contaminated with feces. Wash your hands and gloves after gardening. If you do come into contact with cat feces, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly. Follow the general hygiene rules during preparing food.
Avoid sheep when pregnant
Lambs and sheep can be a source of an organism called Chlamydia psittaci, which is known to cause miscarriage in ewes. They also carry toxoplasma.  Avoid lambing or milking ewes and all contact with newborn lambs. If you experience flu-like symptoms after coming into contact with sheep, tell your doctor.
Why avoid pigs when pregnant?
Research is going on to see if pigs can be a source of hepatitis E infection. This infection is dangerous in pregnant women, so avoid contact with pigs and pig feces. There is no risk of hepatitis E from eating cooked pork products.
Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy   
This infection can damage your baby if you catch it during pregnancy, so take precautions. Most women have already had the infection before pregnancy and will be immune. If you feel you may have been at risk, talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician. If you do catch toxoplasmosis while you are pregnant, you can get treatment.
Group B streptococcus and pregnancy  
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium carried by up to 30% of people which causes no harm or symptoms. In women it is found in the intestine and vagina and causes no problem in most pregnancies.
In a very small number it infects the baby, usually just before or during labor, leading to serious illness.
If you have already had a baby who had group B streptococcal infection, you should be offered antibiotics during labor to reduce the chances of your new baby getting the infection. If you have had a group B streptococcal urinary tract infection with GBS (cystitis) during the pregnancy, you should also be offered antibiotics in labor. Group B streptococcal infection of the baby is more likely if your labor is premature, your waters break early, you have a fever during labor or you currently carry GBS. Your midwife or doctor will assess whether you need antibiotics during labor to protect your baby from being infected.
It is possible to be tested for GBS late in pregnancy if you have concerns. Talk to your doctor or midwife.
Inherited conditions and diseases  
Some diseases or conditions are inherited from one or both parents. These include cystic fibrosis, haemophilia, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell disorders and thalassaemia. If you, your baby’s father or any of your relatives has an inherited condition or if you already have a baby with a disability, talk to your doctor. You may be able to have tests early in pregnancy to check whether your baby is at risk or affected. Ask your GP or midwife to refer you to a genetic counselor (a specialist in inherited diseases) for advice. Ideally, you should do this before you get pregnant or in the early weeks of pregnancy.

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