Invasive Species Compendium

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Toxoplasma gondii

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Datasheet

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

BotswanaPresent
Cabo VerdeAbsent, No presence record(s)
Côte d'IvoireAbsent, No presence record(s)
DjiboutiPresent
EritreaAbsent, No presence record(s)
GabonPresent
GuineaAbsent, No presence record(s)
MadagascarAbsent, No presence record(s)
MauritiusAbsent, No presence record(s)
MoroccoPresent
SudanAbsent, No presence record(s)
TunisiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
UgandaAbsent, No presence record(s)
ZimbabweAbsent, No presence record(s)

Asia

ChinaPresent
-FujianPresent
-GansuPresent
-GuangdongPresent
-GuangxiPresent
-GuizhouPresent
-HainanPresent
-HeilongjiangPresent
-HubeiPresent
-Inner MongoliaPresent
-ShandongPresent
-XinjiangPresent
-ZhejiangPresent
GeorgiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
IndiaPresent
-DelhiPresent
-Jammu and KashmirPresent
-MaharashtraPresent
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresent
-West BengalPresent
IndonesiaPresent
IranAbsent, No presence record(s)
IraqPresent
IsraelPresent
JapanPresent
JordanPresent
KazakhstanAbsent, No presence record(s)
KuwaitAbsent, No presence record(s)
MalaysiaPresent
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
-SabahAbsent, No presence record(s)
MyanmarPresent
North KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)
OmanAbsent, No presence record(s)
PhilippinesAbsent, No presence record(s)
Saudi ArabiaPresent
South KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)
Sri LankaAbsent, No presence record(s)
TaiwanAbsent, No presence record(s)
ThailandAbsent, No presence record(s)
TurkmenistanAbsent, No presence record(s)
United Arab EmiratesAbsent, No presence record(s)
UzbekistanAbsent, No presence record(s)
YemenPresent

Europe

BelarusAbsent, No presence record(s)
CroatiaPresent
CyprusPresentCAB Abstracts Data Mining
EstoniaPresent
FinlandPresent
GermanyAbsent, No presence record(s)
IcelandPresent
IrelandPresent
Isle of ManPresent
JerseyAbsent, No presence record(s)
LatviaAbsent, No presence record(s)
LiechtensteinAbsent, No presence record(s)
LithuaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)
LuxembourgAbsent, No presence record(s)
MaltaAbsent, No presence record(s)
MoldovaAbsent, No presence record(s)
NetherlandsPresent
NorwayPresent
PortugalPresent
RomaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)
Serbia and MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)
SlovakiaPresent
SloveniaPresent
SpainPresent
-Canary IslandsPresent
SwedenPresent
UkraineAbsent, No presence record(s)
United KingdomPresent
-Northern IrelandPresent

North America

BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)
CanadaPresent
-AlbertaPresent
-British ColumbiaPresent
-OntarioPresent
-QuebecPresent
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)
Dominican RepublicPresent
GuatemalaPresent
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)
JamaicaAbsent, No presence record(s)
MexicoPresent
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)
United StatesPresent, Serological evidence and/or isolation of the agent
-AlaskaPresent
-CaliforniaPresent
-ColoradoPresent
-FloridaPresent
-GeorgiaPresent
-HawaiiPresent
-IllinoisPresent
-IowaPresent
-LouisianaPresent
-MarylandPresent
-MassachusettsPresent
-MinnesotaPresent
-MissouriPresent
-New JerseyPresent
-New YorkPresent
-North CarolinaPresent
-OhioPresent
-South CarolinaPresent
-TennesseePresent
-TexasPresent
-WashingtonPresent

Oceania

AustraliaPresent
-Northern TerritoryPresent
-QueenslandPresent
-TasmaniaPresent
-VictoriaPresent
French PolynesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
New CaledoniaPresent
New ZealandPresent
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)

South America

ArgentinaPresent
Brazil
-BahiaPresent
-CearaPresent
-GoiasPresent
-Mato GrossoPresent
-Mato Grosso do SulPresent
-Minas GeraisPresent
-ParaPresent
-ParanaPresent
-PernambucoPresent
-Rio de JaneiroPresent
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
-Sao PauloPresent
ChilePresent
Falkland IslandsPresent
GuyanaAbsent, No presence record(s)
ParaguayPresent, Serological evidence and/or isolation of the agent
PeruPresent
SurinamePresent
UruguayPresent

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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Impact mechanisms
  • 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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