Asymptomatic Toxoplasmosis

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  • Board of Health Laboratory, Gorgas Hospital, Ancon, Canal Zone

On October 22, 1945, a 29 year old mestizo Salvadorean who had been working on the Isthmus of Panama for a year, despondent over a love affair, slashed his wrists and jumped off a 40 foot cliff. Necropsy disclosed that death was due to trauma to the brain, spinal cord, and liver.

The heart weighed 350 grams and grossly appeared normal. In a section taken from the left ventricular wall was a cyst-like structure measuring 54 × 96 microns composed of closely packed fusiform bodies each measuring 1 × 5 microns (Figure 1). Two hundred and seventy parasites could be counted in one focal plane under oil immersion objective. Each tiny body contained a small basophilic nucleus and slightly eosinophilic cytoplasm. No distinct capsule was seen There was no striation of the limiting membrane and no trabeculae divided the cyst.

Author Notes

Now Assistant Professor of Pathology, New York University College of Medicine, Post-graduate Division.