DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Parasitic tachyzoites (trophozoites) that cause toxoplasmosis in humans (Toxoplasma gondii). These crescent shaped cysts produce chronic infections in vertebrates. Cats are the main host but all animals can become infected. Cats excrete oocysts in their faeces, contaminating soil and causing infections. Infection can also occur through ingestion of undercooked meat and by direct contamination. This organism is extremely common worldwide and in most cases can pass without symptoms. However pregnant women are highly susceptible and still birth and congenital deformities can occur. Magnification: x1,200 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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