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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 prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Ethiopian cats in Addis Ababa, coinfection, and a review of toxoplasmosis in humans and other animals in Ethiopia

Authors
item Tiao, Narry -
item Darrington, Courtney -
item Molla, Bayleyegn -
item Saville, William James -
item Tilahun, Gizachew -
item Kwok, Oliver
item Gebreyes, Wondwossen -
item Lappin, Michael -
item Jones, Jeffrey -
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Epidemiology and Infection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 9, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Tiao, N., Darrington, C.L., Molla, B., Saville, W.A., Tilahun, G., Kwok, O.C., Gebreyes, W.A., Lappin, M.R., Jones, J.L., Dubey, J.P. 2013. High prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Ethiopian cats in Addis Ababa, coinfection, and a review of toxoplasmosis in humans and other animals in Ethiopia. Epidemiology and Infection. 141:1029-1033.

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 under cooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. In the present study, authors found antibodies to T. gondii in 85% of 48 domestic cats from Addis Ababa. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and public health workers.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii and Bartonella spp. are zoonotic pathogens of cats. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLv) are related to Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and Human T-lymphotrophic Virus, respectively, and these viruses are immunosuppressive. In the present study, the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii, Bartonella spp., FIV, as well as FeLv antigens were determined in sera from feral cats (Felis catus) from Ethiopia. Using a modified agglutination test, IgG antibodies to T. gondii were found in 41 (85.4%) of the 48 cats with titers of 1:25 in 1, 1:50 in 1, 1:200 in 6, 1:400 in 6, and 1:800 6, 1:1600 in 8, and 1:3200 in 13. Toxoplasma gondii IgM antibodies were found in 11 cats by an ELISA, suggesting recent infection. Antibodies to Bartonella spp. were found in 5 (11%) of 45, with titers of 1:64 in 4, and 1:128 in 1. Antibodies to FIV or FeLv antigen were not detected in any of the 41 cats tested. The results indicate a high prevalence of T. gondii in cats in Ethiopia. Toxoplasma gondii infections in humans and other animals in Ethiopia are discussed.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014