Toxoplasmosis is a cosmopolitan protozoan zoonosis caused by Toxoplasma gondii infamous for inducing severe clinical manifestations in humans. Although the disease affects at least one billion people worldwide, it is neglected in many countries including developed ones. In literature, the epidemiological data documenting the actual incidence of the disease in humans and domestic animals from Japan are limited and importantly many earlier papers on T. gondii infections were published in Japanese and a considerable part is not available online. Herein, we review the current summary about the epidemiological situation of T. gondii infection in Japan and the potential associated risk factors in humans and animals as well as the different T. gondii genotypes isolated in Japan. Several T. gondii isolates have been identified among cats (TgCatJpTy1/k-3, TgCatJpGi1/TaJ, TgCatJpObi1 and TgCatJpOk1-4) and goats (TgGoatJpOk1-13). This literature review underscores the need for a nationwide investigation of T. gondii infection in Japanese people and assessment of the socioeconomic impact of the disease burden. Furthermore, epidemiological studies in domestic and wild animals and estimation of degree of contamination of soil or water with T. gondii oocysts are needed, for a better understanding of the scope of this public health concern.
Keywords: Genotyping; Japan; Prevalence; Toxoplasma gondii; Toxoplasmosis.
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