SCRANTON, Pa. — A northeastern Pennsylvania woman claims she was fired from her job for wearing a prosthetic penis to work while contemplating gender reassignment. Pauline Davis filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday against J&J Snack Foods Corp. over her termination from the company’s plant in Moosic, near Scranton. Davis says she wore the prosthetic to work as a line inspector, informing some co-workers who passed in the information along to management. According to the suit Davis was fired even though the device didn’t interfere with her work. Davis’ suit claims a male employee undergoing hormone treatments and female clothing was treated more favorably. The suit was first reported by the Philadelphia Daily News. A phone message left by The Associated Press at New Jersey-based J&J was not immediately returned Friday.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family. Animals are infected by eating infected meat, by ingestion of feces of a cat that has itself recently been infected, or by transmission from mother to fetus. Cats are the primary source of infection to human hosts, although contact with raw meat, especially pork, is a more significant source of human infections in some countries. Fecal contamination of hands is a significant risk factor.
Over half of the world’s human population is estimated to carry a Toxoplasma infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that overall seroprevalence in the United States as determined with specimens collected by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2004 was found to be 10.8%, with seroprevalence among women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years) 11%. Another study placed seroprevalence in the U.S. at 22.5%. The same study claimed a seroprevalence of 75% in El Savador. A sample of 273 people in rural France was measured at 47% prevalence.
During the first few weeks post-exposure, the infection typically causes a mild flu-like illness or no illness. Thereafter, the parasite rarely causes any symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, those with a weakened immune system, such as AIDS patients or pregnant women, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal. The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and neurologic diseases, and can affect the heart, liver, inner ears, and eyes (chorioretinitis). Recent research has also linked toxoplasmosis with brain cancer, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Schizophrenia.