Toxoplasma Gondii: Life Cycle, Effects and Diagnosis

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  • Topic: Rat, Immune system, Toxoplasma gondii
  • Pages : 1 (366 words )
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  • Published : October 2, 2008
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Toxoplasma Gondii (T. Gondii) was first observed in rodents in 1908. Then in 1932 it was found to be in humans. T. Gondii is a disease that plagues the immune deficient because those with a healthy immune system are able to easily fight the parasite off. It has been estimated that nearly 60 millions Americans are infected with the parasite, however the bulk of them are completely unaware because they have no symptoms. One of the most interesting things about the disease is that it is found worldwide, across continents and across species.

The life cycle of T. Gondii consists of three stages: tachyzoites, bradyzoites, and tissue cysts. The parasite must spend part of its life cycle in a rodent. Thus, to get from the rodent to its next host (usually a cat) the parasite alters the mind of the rat and causes it to have suicidal tendencies. This means that the rat, while normally wary of cat urine, becomes increasingly attracked to it in hopes to be eaten, thus allowing the parasite to enter the feline. However, how to humans contract T. Gondii? By ingesting cat feces or handling/eating raw meats such as venison, pork, and lamb. It is possible, although rare, for T. Gondii to be transferred through contaminated water or an infected organ transplant. Scientists have also recently found that T. Gondii can be transferred from mother to child during the birthing process.

In order to diagnose T. Gondii the parasite is isolated from the blood and then inoculated into a mouse. If the mouse contracts the disease than one is considered to be positive. A more common test, on the other hand, consists of determining the number of antibodies to an infection of T. Gondii that a person has. The more antibodies, the more recent the patient was exposed and, therefore, likely to be positive.

Once diagnosed, if one has an unhealthy immune system, the treatment begins. This usually consists of a drug cocktail of prymethamine and sulfadiazine. However, the best treatment is a plan...
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