Toxoplasma gondii

Last reviewed 01/2018

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoal organism of the order of Eucoccidia, transmitted by oocysts in the faeces of cats. The cat family is the definitive host for reproduction of the parasite.

The disease is acquired in humans by:

  • ingestion of cysts or meat contaminated with them, particularly lamb and pork
  • by (in)direct contact with cat faeces that transfer the sporocyst form
  • by transfer within organ transplant

The trophozoite is only able to multiply within cells - it is an obligate intracellular parasite with reticuloendothelial cells mainly affected. The trophozoite multiplies by binary fission, eventually causing cell disruption and death.