Do you think you're in control of all your thoughts and actions? Then you obviously have not heard about our little friend T. Gondii
Before we horrify you any more we'd like to tell you that the favored hosts of T. Gondii are cats. T Gondii love sex as much as every other living being on the planet, but they have this odd fetish and will only reproduce sexually inside of a feline.
Picture if you will that you are a horny young T. Gondii. You are looking to get in on some wild single-celled action, but all the hot protozoa hang out in cats and the closest one is much too far away to get there yourself. So you're stuck at home. Which in this case is a raw piece of pork that someone threw out. Luckily for you the alley you're in is infested with rats and if there's one easy way to get inside a cat it's by being eaten along with a rat. So you lie in wait. Eventually one of the rats ends up eating you and you now have a ride with one of the most desired foods of cats. Unfortunately millions of years of evolution has taught rats to be disgusted by the smell of cats. So what do you do?
Well if you're T. Gondii you simply change the rat's behavior so instead of being disgusted by the smell of cats you actually make the rat attracted to it. That's right. This little single-celled organism can change the behavior patterns of rats to make them attracted to their predators for the sole purpose of sharing genetic material with another.
Get a room!
But we humans don't really need to worry about that. They only affect rats right?
While T. Gondii only reproduces sexually in cats, they can reproduce asexually in whatever warm-blooded animal they damn well please. That includes humans. But that's okay. Humans are much smarter than rats. There's no way we could be affected by such a small organism. Right?
T. Gondii has been affiliated with several behavioral changes in humans. Such as:
So to put the record straight. This little single-celled parasite causes everyone to be a bad driver, makes men assholes, turns women into sluts, and can give you hallucinations about penguins and polar bears (that's what bipolar means right?)
GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
This raises some serious implications. Are you really attracted to that woman in the bar or is it just the parasitic cyst on her brain? Does your boyfriend chain you to the bed in the basement because he's a prick, or because he's suffering from a disease? The voices tell us to burn things, should we obey?
Not that most of us need to worry about that. You've probably never heard of Toxoplasmosis before now. It couldn't be that common. Could it?
30-65% of humans worldwide are infected with T. Gondii. Of course those numbers are a little misleading. It really all depends on where you live.
In the U.S. we're fairly lucky with only about 11% of the population being infected. That seems like a fairly low number until you consider how many people you drive with on the way to work/school. Approximately one in nine of those drivers have had their brain altered to be 2.5 times more likely to get into an accident.
If you head across the Atlantic things take a turn for the worse. Heading into the U.K. things don't seem too bad with about 22% being infected. Then there are places like Germany and The Netherlands where around 80% of the population is afflicted with Toxoplasmosis. That's still not the worst of it though. The country that tops the chart with 88% of their population driven absolutely batshit insane by T. Gondii is France.
It all makes sense now.