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A century of Toxoplasma gondii research

Henriquez, F.L. and Roberts, Craig (2009) A century of Toxoplasma gondii research. Microbiology Today, 36. pp. 192-195. ISSN 1464-0570

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Toxoplasma gondii (Fig. 1) is a protozoan parasite that can be transmitted directly from cats to humans through faecal contamination of food, or indirectly from cats to livestock and then to humans through undercooked meat. Around 30% of humans in the United Kingdom are infected, and as such, harbour dormant cysts in their brain, but few have overt symptoms of disease. Neurological disease can occur in these people if they become immunosuppressed (Fig. 2). The possibility that apparently healthy people with infection are more likely to develop psychiatric disease, including schizophrenia and depression, is under investigation. Infection during pregnancy can cause abortion or foetal infection. Congenital disease can result in systemic, neurological and progressive eye disease.