A 2008 piece by Discover Magazine entitled, “Zombie animals and the parasites that control them,” named a single-cell parasite primarily found in cats, the Toxoplasma gondii — which alters the brain-chemistry of rats to make them more likely to seek out cats — as one such parasite.
The Toxoplasma “thus makes a rat more likely to be killed and the parasite more likely to end up in a cat — the only host in which it can complete the reproductive step of its life cycle,” Discover reported in a separate piece.
The parasite can also live in the brain cells of thousands of other warm-blooded animals, including humans. The Toxoplasma, when living inside humans, is linked to causing significant changes in behavior, including neuroticism, increased aggression and schizophrenia.
“[Animal] studies of Toxoplasma infections have demonstrated that this organism affects levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters, which are well known to be affected in persons with schizophrenia,” according to a 2003 article in the CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases” publication.
The CDC’s own website acknowledges that Toxoplasma is “considered to be a leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States.”
Approximately 1 out of every 5 Americans are infected with the parasite, which is transmitted through the consumption of undercooked meats or by coming in contact with cat feces.
Pigs are also a carrier of the parasite. A study published by the American Society of Parisitologists in 1995 said that pork “is considered to be the most important meat source of T. gondii infection in the U.S.”
“Transmission to swine may also occur by the consumption of animals such as rodents and birds infected with T. gondii tissue cysts and by cannibalism,” the study said.
While pigs are known to engage in cannibalism, no known correlation between the parasite and cannibalism has been found.
France also has a high prevalence of Toxoplasma-infected people.
The Daily Caller’s inquiry to the CDC about why it omitted parasites from its denial, and about the possibility of the cannibals having been infected by the Toxoplasma, however, was met with silence.
~By Josh Peterson - The Daily Caller