Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 1994
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is widespread in livestock and human beings. It can cause abortion in livestock and loss of vision and mental retardation in children whose mothers become infected with T. gondii during pregnancy. Humans become infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with the resistant stage of T. gondii (oocyst) excreted in feces of infected cats or by the ingestion of tissue cysts from meat of infected animal tissues. Cats including wild Felidae are the main reservoirs of infection for T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete oocysts. Adult cats normally do not suffer from ill effects of toxoplasmosis. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the University of Georgia report for the first time fatal toxoplasmosis in an adult bobcat. This report will be useful for wildlife disease specialists and zoo veterinarians.
Serum samples from 545 woodchucks, Marmota monax, from 22 counties in Pennsylvania were examined for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii by the direct agglutination test. Fifty-one woodchucks (9.4%) had antibodies to T. gondii; 10% at dilutions of 1:25, 2% at dilutions of 1:50, and 4% at dilutions of 1:500. This is the first report of T gondii antibodies in woodchucks.