People with Rh-negative blood type who get infected with toxoplasmosis face a higher risk of road accidents since their reactions are slower, Czech scientists from Charles University and the Central Military Hospital have discovered.
The result of their unique research has been published in the BMC Infectious Diseases international journal.
Toxoplasma gondii (Apicomplexa) parasite, which is transmitted to humans from cats or other felids, causes an infectious disease similar to virosis that can even harm a foetus in the mother’s womb.
“We have explored reactions of people infected with toxoplasmosis in laboratory conditions, but also in real environment.”
Healthy and ill people with Rh-positive factor had similar reactions to stimuli.
However, reactions of the people with toxoplasmosis and Rh-negative blood deteriorated very much,” leading Czech parasitologist Jaroslav Flegr told the daily Hospodarske Noviny (HN).
The finding is in compliance with the results of two studies in which the same research team monitored reactions of Rh-positive and Rh-negative persons infected with toxoplasmosis.
Within the study, 3,900 future drivers of military vehicles were tested for toxoplasma infection and their blood group was registered when they started their military services.
Afterwards, the traffic accident occurrence was analysed, on the basis of the military police recordings, in the groups of infected and not infected drivers with Rh-negative and Rh-positive factors.
The Czech scientists found out that the infection increases the risk of accidents 2.5 times in the case of Rh-negative drivers, but it has no impact on driving ability of those with Rh-positive factor.
In the case of drivers with a relatively fresh infection, the risk rises from 2.6 percent to 16.7 percent.
This is why, the researchers propose that, for instance, Rh-negative pilots and air traffic controllers be regularly tested for toxoplasma infection.
The Czech team has for the first time proved a difference between Rh-positive and Rh-negative persons in this respect.
About one-third of the world’s population is infected with the toxoplasma parasite.
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