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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE DETECTION AND CONTROL OF FOODBORNE PARASITES AND THE IMPACT ON FOOD SAFETY

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

Title: High seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in the Common raven (Corvus corax) in the Northeast of Spain

Authors
item Molina-López, R -
item Cabezon, O -
item Pabón, M -
item Darwich, L -
item Obón, E -
item Lopez-Gatius, F -
item Dubey, Jitender
item Almeria, S -

Submitted to: Research in Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2011
Publication Date: June 25, 2011
Citation: Molina-López, R., Cabezon, O., Pabón, M., Darwich, L., Obón, E., Lopez-Gatius, F., Dubey, J.P., Almeria, S. 2011. High seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in the Common raven (Corvus corax) in the Northeast of Spain. Research in Veterinary Science. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2011.05.011.

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. In the present study, scientists report prevalence of Toxoplasma in crows from Spain. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and public health workers.

Technical Abstract: In recent years, multiple cases of aggressive behaviour of Common ravens (Corvus corax) have been reported by farmers in Catalonia (NE Spain), including attacking of newborn animals and consumption of dead foetuses. In the present study, seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum was determined from 113 legally trapped and released Common ravens. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were found in 91 (80.5%; CI95%:72-87) of 113 sera tested by the modified agglutination test. Antibodies to N. caninum were found in 24 (35.8%; IC95%: 24.5-48.5) of 67 Common ravens tested by an indirect fluorescence antibody test with titers ranging from 1:50 (n=18) to '1:100 (n=6). To the author’s knowledge, this is the first report of the presence of T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies in C. corax. The seroprevalence detected is one of the highest reported worldwide in wild birds, suggesting an important role for this species in the epidemiology of both parasites.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014