, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 17-24,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 May 2009

Changing climate—changing pathogens: Toxoplasma gondii in North-Western Europe

Abstract

In this review, we describe the effects of global climate change for one specific pathogen: the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It is postulated that an increase of T. gondii prevalence in humans can occur in some regions of North-Western Europe as a result of changing environmental conditions. Such a change can be predicted by using Global Climate Change models. We have elaborated such a prediction for one scenario (SRES A1) by using one specific model (CCSR/NRIES) as an example. Next to environmental factors, also anthropogenic factors may contribute to increased prevalence of T. gondii in this region. In order to counter the potential severe consequences of a potential increase resulting from the combination of climatic and anthropogenic factors, there is an urgent need for the development of a human vaccine. Until a vaccine that offers complete protection is developed, the emphasis should be on treatment optimization and prevention.