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Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite infects most warm-blooded animals. The primary host is the felid (cat) family. Animals are infected by eating infected meat, by ingestion of feces of a cat that has itself recently been infected, and by transmission from mother to fetus. Cats are the primary source of infection to human hosts, although contact with raw meat, especially lamb, is a more significant source of human infections in some countries. Fecal contamination of hands is a significant risk factor.

Wesley C. Van Voorhis, MD, PhD

There is a great need for new drugs for parasitic diseases, such as Malaria, African Sleeping Sickness, Chagas' disease, and Leishmaniasis.

Each year, these diseases sicken or kill over 200 million people. Though some pharmaceutical companies devote research effort to discover drugs to treat some of these diseases, there is little done given the need; the people with these parasitic diseases have little money to pay for medicine. The Van Voorhis research group uses emerging knowledge about the genomes of these parasites to aid in rational drug discovery.