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Int J Parasitol. 2013 Feb;43(2):107-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Toxoplasma gondii prevalence in farm animals in the United States.

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United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


Toxoplasmosis, caused by Toxoplasma gondii, is one of the most common parasitic infections of humans and other warmblooded animals. It has been found worldwide and nearly one-third of humans have been exposed to the parasite. Congenital infection occurs when a woman becomes infected during pregnancy and transmits the parasite to the foetus. Besides congenital infection, humans become infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with sporulated oocysts from infected cat faeces or through ingestion of tissue cysts in undercooked or uncooked meat. Food animals (pigs, chickens, lambs and goats) become infected by the same routes, resulting in meat products containing tissue cysts, which can then infect consumers. Toxoplasma infection is common in food animals in the United States. Implementation of management factors such as biosecure confinement housing are important in reducing the levels of infection in animals destined for human consumption.

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