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Toxoplasma gondii

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Toxoplasma gondii

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Protista
  •     Phylum: Protozoa
  •       Subphylum: Apicomplexa
  •         Order: Eucoccidiorida

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Diagrammatic representation of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle.
TitleLife cycle of Toxoplasma gondii
CaptionDiagrammatic representation of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle.
CopyrightUSDA
Diagrammatic representation of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle.
Life cycle of Toxoplasma gondiiDiagrammatic representation of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle.USDA
(a) Unsporulated oocyst in fecal float of cat feces.  Unstained.  Note double layered oocyst wall (arrow) enclosing a central undivided mass.  (b) Sporulated oocyst with a thin oocyst wall (large arrow), 2 sporocysts (arrowheads).  Each sporocyst has 4 sporozoites (small arrow), which are not in complete focus.  Unstained.
TitleStages of Toxoplasma gondii
Caption(a) Unsporulated oocyst in fecal float of cat feces. Unstained. Note double layered oocyst wall (arrow) enclosing a central undivided mass. (b) Sporulated oocyst with a thin oocyst wall (large arrow), 2 sporocysts (arrowheads). Each sporocyst has 4 sporozoites (small arrow), which are not in complete focus. Unstained.
CopyrightUSDA
(a) Unsporulated oocyst in fecal float of cat feces.  Unstained.  Note double layered oocyst wall (arrow) enclosing a central undivided mass.  (b) Sporulated oocyst with a thin oocyst wall (large arrow), 2 sporocysts (arrowheads).  Each sporocyst has 4 sporozoites (small arrow), which are not in complete focus.  Unstained.
Stages of Toxoplasma gondii(a) Unsporulated oocyst in fecal float of cat feces. Unstained. Note double layered oocyst wall (arrow) enclosing a central undivided mass. (b) Sporulated oocyst with a thin oocyst wall (large arrow), 2 sporocysts (arrowheads). Each sporocyst has 4 sporozoites (small arrow), which are not in complete focus. Unstained.USDA
(a) Schizont (arrow) with several merozoites (arrowheads) separating from the main mass.  Impression smear of infected cat intestine.  Giemsa stain. (b) A male gamete with two flagella (arrows).  Impression smear of infected cat intestine.  Giemsa stain.
TitleStages of Toxoplasma gondii
Caption(a) Schizont (arrow) with several merozoites (arrowheads) separating from the main mass. Impression smear of infected cat intestine. Giemsa stain. (b) A male gamete with two flagella (arrows). Impression smear of infected cat intestine. Giemsa stain.
CopyrightUSDA
(a) Schizont (arrow) with several merozoites (arrowheads) separating from the main mass.  Impression smear of infected cat intestine.  Giemsa stain. (b) A male gamete with two flagella (arrows).  Impression smear of infected cat intestine.  Giemsa stain.
Stages of Toxoplasma gondii(a) Schizont (arrow) with several merozoites (arrowheads) separating from the main mass. Impression smear of infected cat intestine. Giemsa stain. (b) A male gamete with two flagella (arrows). Impression smear of infected cat intestine. Giemsa stain.USDA
(a) Tachyzoites in impression smear of lung.  Note crescent-shaped individual tachyzoites (arrows), dividing tachyzoites (arrowheads) compared with size of host red blood cells and leukocytes.  Giema stain.  (b) Tissue cysts in section of muscle.  The tissue cyst wall is very thin (arrow) and encloses many tiny bradyzoites (arrowheads).  Hematoxylin and eosin stain.
TitleStages of Toxoplasma gondii
Caption(a) Tachyzoites in impression smear of lung. Note crescent-shaped individual tachyzoites (arrows), dividing tachyzoites (arrowheads) compared with size of host red blood cells and leukocytes. Giema stain. (b) Tissue cysts in section of muscle. The tissue cyst wall is very thin (arrow) and encloses many tiny bradyzoites (arrowheads). Hematoxylin and eosin stain.
CopyrightUSDA
(a) Tachyzoites in impression smear of lung.  Note crescent-shaped individual tachyzoites (arrows), dividing tachyzoites (arrowheads) compared with size of host red blood cells and leukocytes.  Giema stain.  (b) Tissue cysts in section of muscle.  The tissue cyst wall is very thin (arrow) and encloses many tiny bradyzoites (arrowheads).  Hematoxylin and eosin stain.
Stages of Toxoplasma gondii(a) Tachyzoites in impression smear of lung. Note crescent-shaped individual tachyzoites (arrows), dividing tachyzoites (arrowheads) compared with size of host red blood cells and leukocytes. Giema stain. (b) Tissue cysts in section of muscle. The tissue cyst wall is very thin (arrow) and encloses many tiny bradyzoites (arrowheads). Hematoxylin and eosin stain. USDA
Tissue cyst separated from host tissue by homogenization of infected brain.  Note tissue cyst wall (arrow) and hundreds of bradyzoites (arrowheads).  Unstained.
TitleStages of Toxoplasma gondii
CaptionTissue cyst separated from host tissue by homogenization of infected brain. Note tissue cyst wall (arrow) and hundreds of bradyzoites (arrowheads). Unstained.
CopyrightUSDA
Tissue cyst separated from host tissue by homogenization of infected brain.  Note tissue cyst wall (arrow) and hundreds of bradyzoites (arrowheads).  Unstained.
Stages of Toxoplasma gondiiTissue cyst separated from host tissue by homogenization of infected brain. Note tissue cyst wall (arrow) and hundreds of bradyzoites (arrowheads). Unstained.USDA

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Toxoplasma gondii

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Protista
  •         Phylum: Protozoa
  •             Subphylum: Apicomplexa
  •                 Order: Eucoccidiorida
  •                     Family: Sarcocystidae
  •                         Genus: Toxoplasma
  •                             Species: Toxoplasma gondii

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

BotswanaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Cabo VerdeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Côte d'IvoireAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
DjiboutiPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
EritreaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
GabonPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GuineaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MadagascarAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MauritiusAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MoroccoPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
SudanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
TunisiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
UgandaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ZimbabweAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)

Asia

ChinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-FujianPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GansuPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GuangdongPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GuangxiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GuizhouPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-HainanPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-HeilongjiangPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-HubeiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Inner MongoliaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-ShandongPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-XinjiangPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-ZhejiangPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
GeorgiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
IndiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-DelhiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Jammu and KashmirPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MaharashtraPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Tamil NaduPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Uttar PradeshPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-West BengalPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
IndonesiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
IranAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
IraqPresentCABI (Undated)
IsraelPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
JapanPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
JordanPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
KazakhstanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
KuwaitAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MalaysiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-SabahAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MyanmarPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
North KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
OmanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
PhilippinesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Saudi ArabiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
South KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Sri LankaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
TaiwanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ThailandAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
TurkmenistanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
United Arab EmiratesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
UzbekistanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
YemenPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)

Europe

BelarusAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
CroatiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
CyprusPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)CAB Abstracts Data Mining
EstoniaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
FinlandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
GermanyAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
IcelandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
IrelandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Isle of ManPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
JerseyAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LatviaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LiechtensteinAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LithuaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LuxembourgAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MaltaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MoldovaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
NetherlandsPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
NorwayPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
PortugalPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
RomaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Serbia and MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
SlovakiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
SloveniaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
SpainPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-Canary IslandsPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
SwedenPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
UkraineAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
United KingdomPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-Northern IrelandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)

North America

BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
CanadaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-AlbertaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-British ColumbiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-OntarioPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-QuebecPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Dominican RepublicPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
GuatemalaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
JamaicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MexicoPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
United StatesPresent, Serological evidence and/or isolation of the agentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-AlaskaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-CaliforniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-ColoradoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-FloridaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GeorgiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-HawaiiPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-IllinoisPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-IowaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-LouisianaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MarylandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MassachusettsPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MinnesotaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-MissouriPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-New JerseyPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-New YorkPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-North CarolinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-OhioPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-South CarolinaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TennesseePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TexasPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-WashingtonPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-Northern TerritoryPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-QueenslandPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-TasmaniaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-VictoriaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
French PolynesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
New CaledoniaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
New ZealandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)

South America

ArgentinaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Brazil
-BahiaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-CearaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-GoiasPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Mato GrossoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Minas GeraisPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-ParaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-ParanaPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-PernambucoPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Rio de JaneiroPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
-Sao PauloPresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
ChilePresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
Falkland IslandsPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
GuyanaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ParaguayPresent, Serological evidence and/or isolation of the agentOIE Handistatus (2005)
PeruPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
SurinamePresentCABI Data Mining (2001)
UruguayPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)

Pathogen Characteristics

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The name Toxoplasma (toxon = arc, plasma = form) is derived from the crescent shape of the tachyzoite stage. There are 3 infectious stages of T. gondii: the tachyzoites (in groups), the bradyzoites (in tissue cysts), and the sporozoites (in oocysts).

The tachyzoite is often crescent-shaped and is approximately the size (2 x 6 µm) of a red blood cell. The anterior end of the tachyzoite is pointed, and the posterior end is rounded. It has a pellicle (outer covering), several organelles including subpellicular microtubules, mitochondria, smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum, a Golgi apparatus, apicoplast, ribosomes, a micropore, and a well-defined nucleus. The nucleus is usually situated toward the central area of the cell.

Tissue cysts vary in size from 5-70 µm and remain intracellular. The tissue cyst wall is elastic, thin <0.5 µm), and may enclose hundreds of the crescent-shaped, slender T. gondii stage known as bradyzoites (Dubey et al., 1998). The bradyzoites are approximately 7 x 1.5 µm. Bradyzoites differ structurally only slightly from tachyzoites. They have a nucleus situated toward the posterior end whereas the nucleus in tachyzoites is more central. Bradyzoites are more slender than are tachyzoites and they are less susceptible to destruction by proteolytic enzymes than are tachyzoites.

In freshly passed faeces, oocysts are unsporulated (non-infective). Unsporulated oocysts are totally or nearly spherical and are 10 x 12 µm in diameter. They sporulate (become infectious) outside the cat within 1 to 5 days depending upon aeration and temperature. Sporulated oocysts contain two ellipsoidal sporocysts. Each sporocyst contains 4 sporozoites. The sporozoites are 2 x 6 to 8 µm in size.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Enhydra lutris kenyoni (northern sea otter)USA ESA listing as threatened speciesAlaskaPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Enhydra lutris nereis (southern sea otter)USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCaliforniaPathogenicUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003
Monachus schauinslandi (Hawaiian monk seal)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesUSA; HawaiiPathogenicNational Marine Fisheries Service, 2007

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Pathogenic

References

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Dubey JP, Lindsay DS, Speer CA, 1998. Structures of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites, bradyzoites, and sporozoites and biology and development of tissue cysts. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 11(2):267-299; 183 ref

National Marine Fisheries Service, 2007. Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi). Second Revision. In: Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi). Second Revision : National Marine Fisheries Service.165 pp.

OIE Handistatus, 2002. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2001). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties

OIE Handistatus, 2003. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2002). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties

OIE Handistatus, 2004. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2003). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties

OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2004). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003. Final Revised Recovery Plan for the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). In: Final Revised Recovery Plan for the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) : US Fish and Wildlife Service.179 pp. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/030403.pdf

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013. Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) Recovery Plan. In: Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) Recovery Plan : US Fish and Wildlife Service.175 pp. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/Recovery%20Plan%20SW%20AK%20DPS%20Sea%20Otter%20Aug13.pdf

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2004)., Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

Distribution Maps

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