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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Assessment of Toxoplasma Gondii in Goat’s Meat, Milk, and Cheese Role in Transmission of Toxoplasmosis to Humans

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To assess role of goat meat, milk, and cheese as risk factors for Toxoplasma infection in humans, and pregnant women in particular.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Meat from naturally infected goats will be surveyed for viable Toxoplasma. Goats will be experimentally infected and the excretion of viable Toxoplasma will be studied.


3.Progress Report:

Recently, eating of goat cheese was identified as one of the risk factors for acquisition of Toxoplasma gondii parasites by pregnant women. Little information is available concerning the presence of viable Toxoplasma in milk of goats. In this investigation, 4 lactating goats were orally inoculated with oocysts of strain of Toxoplasma isolated from a goat meat from a local grocery store. In the first experiment, 2 of the goats fed a high dose (100,000) died of toxoplasmosis but Toxoplasma was found in their milk. Therefore, in the second experiment, 2 milking goats were orally inoculated with 100 oocysts. Milk from these goats was bioassayed in mice to detect viable Toxoplasma and also frozen for the detection of Toxoplasma DNA. Toxoplasma was detected in goat milk for up to 30 days. Experiments are now underway to quantitate Toxoplasma DNA in milk samples frozen. The results will be of interest to public health workers, veterinarians, physicians, and goat farmers.


Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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