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Review
, 33 (3), 752-6

The Effect of Toxoplasma Gondii on Animal Behavior: Playing Cat and Mouse

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Review

The Effect of Toxoplasma Gondii on Animal Behavior: Playing Cat and Mouse

Joanne P Webster. Schizophr Bull.

Abstract

A convincing body of evidence now exists to indicate that the ubiquitous protozoan Toxoplasma gondii can cause permanent behavioral changes in its host, even as a consequence of adult-acquired latent infection. Such behavioral alterations appear to be the product of strong selective pressures for the parasite to enhance transmission from its intermediate host reservoir, primarily rodent, to its feline definitive host, wherein sexual reproduction can occur and the life cycle completed. This article reviews evidence of behavioral alterations in animal hosts and considers what these may elucidate about the potential mechanisms involved and what implications such alterations could have on animal and human health.

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