Zombie Animals and the Parasites That Control Them

Discover Magazine has a pretty neat run down of zombie animals and the parasites that control them. Did you know that parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii, which normally lives in cat, can also infect humans?

The rate of infection can vary wildly from country to country - only three percent of South Koreans are infected by toxoplasma, while as many as 80 percent of French people are carriers ...

Toxoplasmosis, researchers have found, might make people more likely to be schizophrenic, and can change personality in subtle ways. One researcher found that infected men were more aggressive and jealous, women were more outgoing, and perhaps more seriously, both had slower reaction times and were in more traffic accidents.

Link [Flash gallery] - Thanks Andrew Moseman!

(Photo: Blue Diego)

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Toxoplasmosis is an odd one. It will makes women collect cats, and is most likely the cause of the "crazy cat lady" phenomenon, but also affects rodents, making them unafraid of cats and sometimes even attracted to the smell of cat urine.
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