Toxoplasma gondii is a coccidium with the domestic cat and other felids as its definitive host and a wide range of birds and mammals as intermediate hosts. It was first described by Nicolle and Manceaux (1908) from a rodent Ctenodactylus gundi and by Splendore (1908) in a rabbit. The name Toxoplasma is derived from the crescent shape of the tachyzoite (in Greek: toxo = arc, plasma = form). The knowledge of the full life cycle of T. gondii was not completed until 1970, when the sexual phase of the life cycle was identified in the intestine of the cat, by demonstrating oocysts in cat faeces and characterizing them biologically and morphologically (Dubey et al. 1970a,b).

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