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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #235431

Title: Waterborne toxoplasmosis

item JONES, J
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Experimental Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2009
Publication Date: 2/10/2010
Citation: Jones, J.L., Dubey, J.P. 2010. Waterborne toxoplasmosis. Experimental Parasitology. 124:10-25.

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. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and CDC , Atlanta, Georgia describe waterborne toxoplasmosis.. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.

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 the feces of infected cats. Circumstantial evidence suggests that oocyst-induced infections in humans are clinically more severe than tissue cyst-acquired infections. Until recently, waterborne transmission of T. gondii was considered uncommon, but a large human outbreak linked to contamination of a municipal water reservoir in Canada by wild felids and the widespread infection of marine mammals in the U.S.A. provided reasons to question this view.