Toxoplasma gondii, Toxoplasmosis


Toxoplasma gondii, the etiological agent of toxoplasmosis, was first discovered in Ctenodactylus gondi, an small North African rodent, by Nicolle and Manceaux in 1908. Later the same year Splendore observed the organism in a laboratory rabbit. Human infection was first reported by Janku in 1923. Since its discovery, many investigations have shown the organism to be truly unique in the protozoan world. There appears to be only one species and only one serotype. Serologic and microscopic studies reveal Toxoplasma to have a vast host range. At least one representative of virtually every mammalian species tested harbored the parasite or showed the presence of demonstrable antibody. Studies of toxoplasmal infection among mammalian populations show that the prevalence of infection usually increases: 1 ) in warm, moist climates and 2) with age. Sex, however, appears to have little influence on the prevalence of the parasite. One most unusual feature of the organism is its lack of target cell specificity: Toxoplasma is an obligate, intracellular parasite capable of living in any cell except non-nucleated erythrocytes. Infection by Toxoplasma is most often confirmed serologically. Many procedures have been described; however, the Sabin-Feldman dye test, the indirect hemagglutinstion test, and the indirect fluorescent antibody test appear to be superior methods for antibody detection. The indirect fluorescent antibody test was selected for this study because: 1) it does not require the use of live organisms, 2) it is relatively easy to perform, and 3) it correlates well with the standard Sabin-Feldman dye test. This study was undertaken to determine the role of various factors on toxoplasmal prevalence in the Greater Orlando area. Age, sex, and race were considered for each human sample tested. Age, sex, and relative degree of outdoor exposure were considered in the study of each canine and feline sample.

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Gennaro, Robert N.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Natural Sciences

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63 p.




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Toxoplasma gondii, Toxoplasmosis

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