Researchers Find Toxoplasma gondii in Horsemeat

horse-meat_161748719_900x597The Horse magazine recently published an article about T. gondii infection in humans as a result of consuming horsemeat.  Two studies quoted in the article found that up to 30% of slaughtered horses and donkeys were infected with T. gondii or possessed T. gondii antibodies.

T. gondii is a parasite of warm-blooded animals,  including humans.  It has a worldwide distribution,  causing the disease toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis in adult humans—especially the elderly and immune-deficient—can cause fever, pneumonia, heart disorders, muscular difficulties, lymphadenopathy, and death. Frequently, infection goes unnoticed in healthy adults. But the disease is of particular concern in pregnant women, as infected fetuses can develop eye, ear, skin, and nervous system disorders.  It can also cause mental retardation and loss of vision in congenitally-infected children. It is also found in pork,  lamb,  and chicken.

Toxoplasmosis rarely causes clinical signs in horses, but can cause neurological problems such as ataxia and blindness in young or immune-deficient horses.

Additional references and sources of information:

This study follows 3 cases of toxoplasmosis caused by atypical strains probably acquired by from ingestion of raw horse meat imported from Canada and Brazil.

Patient  1 – 74 year-old male – passed away due to respiratory failure

Patient 2 – 23 year-old pregnant woman – delivered child with congenital toxoplasmosis

Patient 3 – 21 year-old pregnant woman – pregnancy terminated after ultrasonography-detected fetal severe abnormalities. Fetal necropsy showed numerous cerebral, cardiac, and hepatic abscesses with T. gondii

Other studies on T. gondii

Consumption of raw or undercooked horsemeat can cause other parasitic infections as well – please also read these other studies on Trichinella in humans as a result of eating horsmeat:

High risk human infection via Trichinella in horsemeat –

Trichinella outbreak affecting 550 consumers of horsemeat in France –


  1. Barbara Griffith · ·

    I looked this up and it seems that this disease in France shows up in 50% of the population with about 15% in the US. In some of the other EU countries it runs about 30% down to 20 %. So I doubt these exposures are strictly from pet cats. It’s the eating of either raw horse meat or very rare horse meat. I hope there are lawsuits over this. That would prove just what all of us have said all along horse meat not being fit to eat not only because of the drugs but the meat it’s self.

  2. Should we all send this article to the CFIA…? Or, am I talking for nothing?
    They will probably contradict this article, like usually


  3. Other effects of exposure to Toxoplasmosis is mental illness, risky behavior, and suicide. The Toxoplasmosis cysts infect the brain and can actually influence behaviour. Studies have demonstrated that infected mice show no fear of cats and are attracted to the smell of cats, instead of the natural fear response. It is postulated that it can influence the human brain in a similar manner.

    1. It’s also correlated with schizophrenia.

  4. Dennis Davey · ·

    Better yet, let’s hope Princess Anne has a few bites. After all if you supports this industry, surely she should have no issue with consuming it.

    1. Well said!

      Support BILL C-322 in Canada!

  5. jean robertson · ·

    If this information doesn’t cut down or eliminate the consumption of horse meat nothing will.

  6. I hope Princess Anne reads this!!

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