Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2009
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Weiss, L.M., Dubey, J.P. 2009. Toxoplasmosis: a history of clinical observations. International Journal for Parasitology. 39:895-901.
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 clinical presentations. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
It has been 100 years since Toxoplasma gondii was initially described in Tunis by Nicolle and Manceaux (1908) in the tissues of the gundi (Ctenodoactylus gundi) and in Brazil by Splendore (1908) in the tissues of a rabbit. Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous, Apicomplexan parasite of warm-blooded animals that can cause several clinical syndromes including encephalitis, chorioretinitis, congenital infection and neonatal mortality. Fifteen years after the description of T. gondii by Nicolle and Manceaux a fatal case of toxoplasmosis in a child was reported by Janku. In 1939 Wolf, Cowen and Paige were the first to conclusively identify T. gondii as a cause of human disease. This review examines the clinical manifestations of infection with T. gondii and the history of the discovery of these manifestations.