Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular protozoan belonging to the phylum Apicomplexa. It is deemed to be one of the most widespread parasites in the world.

This parasite is hosted by cats and other felines. Once infected, occurrence in the host enables the production of oocysts, which are released through the faeces and constitute an environmentally resistant stage in the life of the parasite. It is a pathogen that affects the Central Nervous System.

Transmission occurs through the ingestion of tissue cysts or oocysts in contaminated food or water, or it may be congenital. Infection during pregnancy may cause the virus to be transmitted to the foetus, with severe neurological problems. In immunocompromised patients, reactivation of latent foci can also cause encephalitis. In immunocompetent individuals, however, T. gondii infection remains for life but is typically asymptomatic.

Why use Real time PCR assay for Toxoplasma gondii?

The investigation of Toxoplasma gondii DNA using Real time PCR is used in the diagnosis of congenital, ocular toxoplasmosis and in immunocompromised patients.