What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. This disease is widespread in humans and many other warm-blooded animals. It is estimated that 30-40% of all Americans have been infected with the parasite. Cats, including wild species, are the only animals which harbor the adult parasite in their intestinal tract. These adult parasites produce oocysts (eggs) that are passed in the cat's feces. These eggs must develop for 1 to 5 days in the environment before they become infective, and they can remain infective for up to 18 months in the soil and in the cat's feces. When other animals and humans become infected with this parasite, cysts are formed in their tissues (muscle, brain, etc..,), but no adult parasites develop in their intestinal tract. Although animals other than cats do not shed eggs in their feces, the cycle continues when the tissues of an infected animal are eaten by another susceptible animal or person.
Texas Department of State Health Services - Infectious Disease Control Unit
1100 West 49th Street, Suite T801, Mail Code: 1960 PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 458-7676 - Fax: (512) 458-7616 - E-Mail
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