Toxoplasmosis. Are cats really the source?

Aust Fam Physician. 2001 Aug;30(8):743-7.


Background: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It would appear to be one of the commonest human infections, but is usually asymptomatic. It is only problematic if the patient is pregnant or immunosuppressed.

Objective: To discuss the epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of toxoplasmosis.

Discussion: Cats have long been blamed for playing a major role as the reservoir of this infection. To some extent, this is true, although contact with infected raw meat is probably a more important cause of human infection in many countries. Direct contact with pet cats is also a less common risk factor for infection than ingestion of the oocyst from faecally contaminated hands (often via soil).

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / prevention & control
  • Toxoplasmosis / diagnosis
  • Toxoplasmosis / prevention & control*
  • Toxoplasmosis / transmission
  • Zoonoses