Science Inventory



Staggs, S. AND E. Villegas. Toxoplasma. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), 2012.


The online summary provides a general review of Toxoplasma gondii. Topics covered include clinical disease, occurrence in the environment, resistance to disinfection, and detection assays for monitoring efforts.


T. gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite that can infect all warm blooded animals ranging from: humans, pets, livestock, to marine aquatic animals. The definitive host is the feline species (both domestic and wild cats), where the sexual stage of the life cycle occurs resulting in millions of oocysts shed in the feces. Three infective stages in the life cycle: 1) Oocysts, the infectious form of the parasite are found in soil and water and can survive in the environment for several months. 2) Tachyzoites, the rapidly replicating tissue stage of the parasite, are responsible for causing acute toxoplasmosis. 3) Bradyzoites, the slowly replicating, tissue cyst form of the parasite, are typically found in muscle and brain tissues of chronically infected hosts. This is the predominant infective stage causing foodborne outbreaks of toxoplasmosis. The environmental oocyst form is highly resistant to chemical and physical disinfection. Numerous drinking water-related outbreaks of toxoplasmosis have occurred in both developed and developing nations. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 people in the United States are infected every year with T. gondii. Infection in healthy individuals is typically asymptomatic, but it is a life-long infection, and currently there is no vaccine or cure available for this disease. Acute cases of toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can cause fetal complications, miscarriages, and death. Immunosuppression can result in reactivation of the disease and lead to toxoplasmic encephalitis.

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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 09/01/2012
Record Last Revised: 03/14/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 311351