Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2004
Publication Date: March 11, 2004
Citation: Dubey, J.P. 2004. Toxoplasmosis - a waterborne zoonosis. Veterinary Parasitology 126:57-72. Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single celled parasite that causes mental retardation in children and abortion in livestock. It is transmitted by ingesting uncooked infected meat or water or food contaminated with the resistant stage of the parasite oocyst. A scientist from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center has reviewed the current knowledge on the waterborne toxoplasmosis. The paper will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, physicians and public health workers
Technical Abstract: Humans become infected with Toxoplasma gondii mainly by ingesting uncooked meat containing viable tissue cysts or by ingesting food or water contaminated with oocysts from feces of infected cats. Circumstantial evidence suggests that oocyst-induced infections are more severe clinically in humans than tissue cyst-acquired infections. Until the recent recognition of a large outbreak of toxoplasmosis in humans epidemiologically linked to drinking water from a municipal water reservoir in Canada and common infection in marine mammals in the USA, transmission of T. gondii via water was not recognized to be common. The present paper reviews information on the biology of oocyst-induced infections of T. gondii in humans and animals.