Acute Infection

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The acute infection is characterized by fast growing forms called tachyzoites, which lyse their host cells within 24–48 hours to release large numbers of progeny. In response to immune pressure, the parasite differentiates into a slow growing form called a bradyzoite, which resides within an intracellular cyst. Tissue cysts normally occur in long-lived cells such as muscle or neuronal cells. Ingestion of tissue cysts by members of the cat family results in sexual development within intestinal epithelial cells, culminating in the shedding of oocysts that undergo meiosis in the environment to form sporozoites.
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