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Attack of the Toxoplasma! | zombie mice & men

What would cause a mouse to develops a strange affinity to cats? Not in the Tom and Jerry 'let's team up and harass the dog' kinda way, but in the moth to bug zapper, suicide mission kinda way. Toxoplasma.

toxoplasma crazy cat
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Toxoplasma!

Meet Toxoplasma gondii. A single-celled, brain altering, parasite that has figured out how to hitchhike right into a cat's stomach. For some odd reason the only place Toxo can reproduce sexually is inside a cat gut. Cat gut fetish. And how does it get into the cat? Well 'Toxo' has Darwin'd itself inside the brains of unsuspecting mice and rats all over the world. After contracting the parasite, mice go against their basic instinct of avoiding their main predators and actually become attracted to the same beasts that intend on eating them as a snack. The smell of a cat or their urine becomes intoxicating and pretty soon they're getting scarfed down while Speedy Gonzales shakes his head in utter disgust.

Good news! It's probably inside your brain!

But this pied piper of rodents doesn't stop there. Toxoplasma parasites have infiltrated many of our own brains. It's estimated that 30-60% of the world's population might be hosting Toxo cysts in their brain. People get it from kitty litter, feces and eating raw or lightly cooked meat. YUM! I'm suddenly more of a dog person.

toxoplasma crazy mime88% of French people have Toxoplasma due to undercooked meats.

Insane in the BRAIN

A Toxoplasma infected human brain still finds the stench of cat urine disgusting, but there are some notable personality changes. Some studies suggest that people are more likely to be involved in car crashes due to slower reflexes. Males become more prone to jealously and have lower intelligence. Apparently women become smarter and are more sexually attractive. Hey, who wants cat poop!

So a SINGLE CELLED organism can rewire our brain and change our personality. What other undiscovered, horrific, brain controlling, parasites are lurking out there?

If anyone needs me I'll be preparing for the Zombiepocalypse.

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