Parasitology Research

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 17-24

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

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

  • Bastiaan G. MeerburgAffiliated withWageningen University and Research Centre, Plant Research International Email author 
  • , Aize KijlstraAffiliated withWageningen University and Research Centre, Animal Sciences GroupDepartment of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maastricht


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.