is an infection by the protist Toxoplasma gondii, a one-celled organism that can affect most birds and mammals
It comes from parasites found in cat feces, orundercooked meat. Many people can come into contact with toxoplasmosis and no serious side effects will occur, But, pregnant women
and those with a poor immune system
should be awarethat serious complications may occur.
People who already have infections, such as AIDS or HIV, are very susceptible to toxoplasmosis.
The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammationof the brain) and neurologic diseases, and can affect the heart, liver, inner ears, and eyes
Up to one third of the world's human population is estimated to carry a Toxoplasma infectionsymptoms are often influenza-like: swollen lymph nodes, or muscle aches and pains that last for a month or more.
Most infants who are infected while in the womb have no symptoms atbirth but may develop symptoms later in life
Detection of the parasite can be accomplished with a blood test using the Polymerase chain reaction technique.
It has been found that theparasite has the ability to change the behaviour of its host.
some characteristics include:
* Decreased novelty seeking behaviour
* Slower reactions
* Lowerrule-consciousness and greater jealousy (in men)
* Promiscuity and greater conscientiousness (in women)
Some scientists have studied the relation between toxoplasmosis andschizophrenia. Their studies are suggestive but cannot confirm the relationship.
Also, a recent study has indicated toxoplasmosis correlates strongly with an increase in male births in humans.The symptoms of toxoplasmosis usually disappear within a month in healthy patients. But there are medications available for people with serious health problems and pregnant women