Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2009
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Dubey, J.P. 2009. History of the discovery of the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. International Journal for Parasitology. 39:877-882.
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. This paper summarizes information on the discovery of its life cycle. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
It has been 100 years since the discovery of Toxoplasma gondii in 1908. Its full life cycle was not discovered until 1970 when it was found that it is a coccidian parasite of cats with all non feline warm blooded animals (including humans) as intermediate hosts. The discovery of the environmentally resistant stage of the parasite, the oocyst, made it possible to explain its worldwide prevalence. In the present paper events associated with the discovery of its life cycle are recalled.