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Maintaining Reduced Exposure To Toxoplasma gondii, By Brad DeWolf from Southwest Ontario Veterinary Services

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a zoonotic and protozoan parasite that infects more than one-third of the global human population. Warm-blooded animals can act as hosts but only members of the cat family, such as domestic cats, act as the definitive hosts and have the potential to shed oocysts (infective eggs) into the environment. Human infection occurs through the ingestion of sporulated eggs from the environment (eg kitty litter) or from tissue cysts in undercooked or raw meat from livestock. Occasionally infection can come from ingestion of water or food that contains sporulated oocysts. People with a competent immune system may have mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.  The consequences of T. gondii infection may be more severe in pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals.  Transplacental transmission of T. gondii may result in spontaneous abortion, premature birth, stillbirth, or neurological or ocular damage to the foetus. Eye lesions from congenital infection are often not identified at birth but occur in 20 to 80% of congenitally infected persons by adulthood . These public health researchers from the Netherlands wanted to revisit the prevalence and risk factors for T gondii infection in the Netherlands. A cross-sectional study conducted in samples collected 2016/2017 was designed similarly to the previous two studies (1995/1996 and 2006/2007) and included a questionnaire and serum sampling among Dutch residents.

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