A new study has been making the rounds in the media concerning the health dangers of parasites found in cat poop. Dr. Robert H. Yolken, director of developmental neurovirology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and research psychiatrist Dr. E. Fuller Torrey spell out the public health concerns related to the eggs of Toxoplasma gondii microbes that are found in infected cats' feces.
The Baltimore Sun did a story on Yolken's research on the possible link between the parasites and schizophrenia in 2010:
"I couldn't understand why a disease like schizophrenia persists in humans," Yolken told The Sun. Through much of our history, "people who have these diseases don't reproduce very well, either because they're sick, or they've been locked up, or because they were killed."
If the disorder were strictly genetic in origin, he added, those genes should have been culled from the gene pool long ago. But they weren't. That raises the question of an environmental, perhaps infectious origin — a germ that has evolved to benefit by infecting other species.
Read the whole Sun story here: "Researchers explore link between schizophrenia, cat parasite"
Read more about the current study on NPR's Shots Blog.