Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases
Title: Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma Gondii infection in domestic horses in Durango State, Mexico Authors
Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 3, 2012
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Citation: Alvardo-Esquivel, C., Rodriguez-Pena, S., Villena, I., Dubey, J.P. 2012. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma Gondii infection in domestic horses in Durango State, Mexico. Journal of Parasitology. 98:944-945. 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, as well as food and water contaminated with oocysts. Herbivorous food animals (sheep, goat, horses) become infected with Toxoplasma mainly by eating or drinking food contaminated with oocysts. Horse meat is consumed by humans in many countries including North America. In the present study, authors examined 495 horses slaughtered for food in Mexico and found Toxoplasma antibodies in 6%. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and public health workers.
Technical Abstract: The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in horses in Mexico is unknown. Therefore, antibodies to T. gondii were determined in 495 horses in Durango State, Mexico using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Horses were from 18 farms in 3 municipalities in the valley region of Durango State. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 30 (6.1%) of 495 horses, with MAT titers of 1:25 in 19, 1:50 in 6, and 1:100 in 5. Seropositive horses were found in 8 (44.4%) of 18 farms sampled in all 3 municipalities. Age, gender, and breed of horses did not influence significantly the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection. The seroprevalence in horses was higher in rural (7.8%) versus urban (0%) areas, and in larger (30-64 horses, 7.8%) versus smaller size herds (3-28 horses 3.5%). In municipalities with the highest rate of infection, the seroprevalence was higher in stall fed (16.5%) than in pastured horses (3.1%). Results indicate that infected horses represent a potential source of T. gondii infection for humans in Mexico. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in horses in Mexico.