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Vet Parasitol. 2002 Feb 4;103(4):309-13.

Survival of nonsporulated Toxoplasma gondii oocysts under refrigerator conditions.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, 1410 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0442, USA.


Toxoplasma gondii oocysts are excreted nonsporulated in the feces of the cats into the environment. These oocysts must undergo sporulation to become infectious. Little is known about the factors that influence sporulation of T. gondii oocysts. The present study examined the survival of nonsporulated oocysts under refrigerated conditions over 11-week observation period. Microscopic examination of oocysts indicated that no visible development occurred under refrigerator conditions. The nonsporulated oocysts retained their ability to sporulate when placed at room temperature. The numbers of visually viable appearing oocysts decreased over time. Some oocysts in all samples were infectious for mice despite being refrigerated for up to an 11 weeks before undergoing sporulation. Results indicate that nonsporulated oocysts can survive in the environment for at least 3 months and retain their ability to become infectious when placed under appropriate conditions.

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