Background: The highly prevalent parasitic infection of humans, toxoplasmo sis, can have serious consequences even during an asymptomatic course of the
disease. The causative agente of infection is Toxoplasma gondii, which prolifer ates in the intestine of cats. Risk of infection by direct contact with cats is low,
but the infection can occur due to contaminated soil, water, unwashed vegeta bles and fruits, as well as insufficiently heat–treated meat.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to synthesize the current knowledge
about infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii in a brief review focusing on latent
toxoplasmosis in humans.
Materials and Methods: More than hundred articles, studies and reports from
scientific journals were considered to summarize the infection’s characteristics
such as prevalence and symptoms in humans.
Results and Discussion: The symptoms of acute toxoplasmosis are either
featureless, or non–existent, although, for people with immunosuppression it
can be fatal, and for expectants it can result in foetal harm. The detection
of the infection is conducted with serology methods, however, only in a few
European countries are general screenings present. The asymptomatic carrier
state is dangerous as well, because the cysts subsist in the brain of the host,
which affects behaviour, the regulation of emotions, and also the level of several
hormones. The latent toxoplasmosis can be connected to aggression, anxiety,
schizophrenia, bipolar personality disorder, suicidal inclination, depression, and
the reduction in intelligence quotient. For the reason of the deterioration of
reaction time, the disease increases the risk of traffic accidents. The latent toxo plasmosis also influences personality traits; for women and men the alteration
of the personality change differs. There is no data on the current epidemiologi cal situation in Hungary, and not even in Europe. A research regarding the extent
of asymptomatic carrier state and about the psychological changes in the Hun garian population has not been conducted so far.||en_US