ZOMBIFIER
Toxoplasma Gondii

Toxoplasma Gondii is a common tissue parasite and cause for toxoplasmosis.

If you own a cat, you might have heard of this one, because feline animals are its sought-out final host, whilst often occurring in rodents and birds as intermediate hosts.

A “cyst” of the Toxoplasma Gondii parasites in a mice brain.

To easily make the transition between its carriers, Toxoplasma Gondii does nothing less than zombifying the host and making it less fearful and even attracted to its natural enemy: the feline species. The infected animal loses its fear and seeks contact instead of hiding or fleeing, which makes it easy for the predator to catch both its prey and the disease.

Organisms with pathogens stay infected for their whole life, usually unaffected as long as their immune system stays stable. In humans, however, hostage can have an effect on elder’s memory loss, increase the probability of falling ill with schizophrenia and evoke neurological damages during pregnancy.

 

Image courtesy Toxoplasma Gondii: Fundacion Carlos Slim
Image courtesy cyst: Jitinder P. Dubey, Wikimedia Commons