Scientists found that people who are infected with common Toxoplasma gondii parasite may have increased risk of developing schizophrenia. These parasites are carried by cats and farm animals. It seems that out of 200 study subjects 5% were infected with this kind of parasites before they were diagnosed with schizophrenia. These results were compared to 5% of patients out of 500 healthy subjects. These findings clearly say that people who are exposed to toxoplasma have greater risk of developing schizophrenia.

It was discovered that great number of toxoplasma infections occur early in life and although there are not so many symptoms, parasites remain in people’s body and can be reactivated after many years. Some of the previous studies found link between schizophrenia and toxoplasma antibodies which suggest that there was an infection in the past but this study is the first that shows that infection with Toxoplasma can occur before initial onset of schizophrenia symptoms and diagnosis. Before this study researchers couldn’t determine which came first: schizophrenia or infection. Results of this study find that infection was the one that came first.

Researchers say that it’s most likely that people with this infection wont develop schizophrenia but these parasites can be triggers for those people who have genetically predispositions for this disorder.