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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: Seroprevalence of toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic rabbits in Durango State, Mexico

Authors
item Alvarado-Esquivel, Cosme -
item Alvarado-Esquivel, Domingo -
item Villena, Isabelle -
item DUBEY, JITENDER

Submitted to: Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 2013
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Citation: Alvarado-Esquivel, C., Alvarado-Esquivel, D., Villena, I., Dubey, J.P. 2013. Seroprevalence of toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic rabbits in Durango State, Mexico. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 111:325-328.

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. Toxoplasma infection in rabbits is important because cats prey on them and shed oocysts that contaminate the environment. Additionally meat from these animals is also consumed by people. In the present study, authors found antibodies to T. gondii in 16.3% of 429 rabbits in Mexico. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and public health workers.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii infection in rabbits is of public health importance because rabbit meat is consumed by humans, and rabbits are preyed upon by cats that then shed environmentally resistant oocysts. Antibodies to T. gondii were determined in 429 domestic rabbits in Durango State, Mexico using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Rabbits were raised in 29 properties in 6 municipalities. Overall, antibodies to T. gondii were found in 70 (16.3%) of 429 rabbits, with MAT titers of 1:25 in 42, 1:50 in 19, 1:100 in 5, 1:200 in 3, and 1:800 in 1 rabbit. Seropositive rabbits were found in 21 (72.4%) of 29 properties, including 16 of 21 homes, 4 of 5 farms, and 1 of 3 pet shops. Prevalence of T. gondii antibodies was influenced by municipality, altitude, climate, age, management and type of feeding. Increased seroprevalence was observed in rabbits in a municipality with semi-cold climate located at 2000 m above sea level, raised in backyards, and for sale in a pet shop. Rabbits fed with a mixture of concentrated food and fruits, vegetables and grains showed a significantly higher seroprevalence of T. gondii infection than those fed with concentrated food only (P=0.02). This is the first study of T. gondii infection in rabbits in Durango, and results indicate that infected rabbits are likely an important source of T. gondii infection in humans in Durango State.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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