Toxoplasma gondii and behavioral modification in hosts
Carey, Robert Francis IV
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Toxoplasma gondii is a heteroxenous protozoan parasite that is found in nearly every species of mammal and billions of latently infected humans worldwide. The symptoms and morbidities associated with acute, congenital, and AIDS-associated toxoplasmosis are familiar to many, while those associated with latent toxoplasmosis are not nearly as well known. Behavioral manipulation is a common strategy of parasite and parasitoid species, and recent research into T. gondii has revealed that T. gondii infection alters the way rodents respond to the odor of the urine of its feline predators, which are also the definitive hosts of T. gondii. Humans have been found to be potentially affected by T. gondii as well: associations have been identified between latent T. gondii infection and psychiatric diseases (including schizophrenia), personality changes, and traffic accidents. This review investigates the state of current scientific knowledge related to Toxoplasma gondii, analyzes recent developments, and examines the implications on public health. We also provide critical analysis of the published literature and make suggestions for future research.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University