Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374397

Research Project: Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites for Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Foodborne transmission of Toxoplasma gondii infection in the last decade: An overview

item ALMERIA, S. - Food And Drug Administration(FDA)
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Research in Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2020
Publication Date: 10/24/2020
Citation: Almeria, S., Dubey, J.P. 2020. Foodborne transmission of Toxoplasma gondii infection in the last decade: An overview. Research in Veterinary Science. 135:371-385.

Interpretive Summary: Food safety research is of paramount importance for agriculture and the public. Foodborne protozoon infections are a leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States, especially for individuals with weak immune systems such as children and HIV patients. Humans become infected with this parasite by eating under cooked infected meat or by ingesting food and water contaminated with oocysts excreted in feces of infected cats. Diagnosis of this infection is difficult, especially in pregnant women. The present paper reviews literature on diagnosis of acute and chronic toxoplasmosis in animals and humans. This review will be of interest to veterinarians, biologists, physicians, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease of global distribution and importance. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, the only species in the Toxoplasma genus. This parasite can infect most warm-blooded animals, including humans and livestock as intermediate hosts. Main routes of transmission are by ingestion of tissue cysts in raw or undercooked meat, ingestion of contaminated raw vegetables or water with T. gondii oocysts from cat feces, and by transplacental transmission. About one-third of human beings are chronically infected by this pathogen which has been incriminated as one of the most fatal foodborne pathogens in the USA. Water and foodborne outbreaks have been caused by this parasite worldwide. Importantly, T. gondii is a parasite of high importance in animal health, causing reproductive failure, particularly in small ruminants, and clinical symptoms in other susceptible species, and consequently important economic losses in farm animals.