29 Sep 2003

Czech scientist Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague told Reuters his research showed a parasite called toxoplasma gondii in cats, rabbits or raw meat, may make women reckless and friendly while making men jealous and morose.

Just contracting the bug might not be life-threatening but infected women behind the wheel can be fatal, and those out for a stroll in busy traffic may be a hazard, he said. “It is not much fun. Our research has shown that toxoplasmosis raises 2.6 times the risk of a traffic accident by prolonging the reaction time of infected people,” he said. “It is not only about driving accidents but also about the probability of being run over by a car.”

Flegr said his research shows men infected by the bug tend to be quiet, withdrawn, suspicious, jealous and dogmatic. He said he could not find a reason for the different reactions.

The illness could be responsible for up to one million of deaths on the roads worldwide, making it one of the deadliest parasitic diseases, second only to malaria, he said.

(found by lola)

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