Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 2006
Publication Date: June 6, 2006
Citation: Mucker, E.M., Dubey, J.P., Lovallo, M.J., Humphreys, J.G. 2006. Seroprevalence of antibodies to toxoplasma gondii in the Pennsylvania bobcat (lynx rufus rufus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 42:188-191.
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts.Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Indiana University of Pennsylvania report prevalence of Toxoplasma in bobcats from Pennsylvania.The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
From 2000-2002 bobcat serum samples were collected, in association with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, during the recently reactivated bobcat hunting and trapping season. Sex, age and county/township data were recorded for each sample. Sera were tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii using the modified agglutination test. In the two-year study, 131 bobcat samples were collected in 14 Pennsylvania counties and 109 (83%) of these had T. gondii antibodies (at titer of 1:25). Statistically, a two way Chi-Square test (95% confidence interval) yielded no significance differences between males (83%) and females (88%), and adults (83%) and juveniles. (77%). All 14 counties had at least one seropositive bobcat sample.