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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 captive mammals in three zoos in Mexico City, Mexico

Authors
item Gayosso-Dominguez, Cosme -
item Gayosso-Dominguez, Edger -
item Villena, Isabelle -
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2013
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Citation: Gayosso-Dominguez, C., Gayosso-Dominguez, E., Villena, I., Dubey, J.P. 2013. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in captive mammals in three zoos in Mexico City, Mexico. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 44:803-806.

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. Little is known of the circulation of Toxoplasma in wildlife. In the present study authors found a very high prevalence of Toxoplasma in wild cats kept in 3 city zoos in Mexico. Shedding of resistant forms of Toxoplasma in feces of infected cats is a public health hazard. These results will be of interest to veterinarians, zoo keepers, and public health persons.

Technical Abstract: Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii were determined in 167 mammals in 3 zoos in Mexico City, Mexico using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Overall, antibodies to T. gondii were found in 89 (53.3%) of the 167 animals tested. Antibodies were found in 35 of 43 wild Felidae: 2 of 2 bobcats (Lynx rufus), 4 of 4 cougars (Puma concolor), 10 of 13 jaguars (Panthera onca), 5 of 5 leopards (Panthera pardus), 7 of 7 lions (Panthera leo), 2 of 3 tigers (Panthera tigris), 2 of 3 ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), 2 of 2 Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae), 1 of 2 Jaguarundi (Herpailurus jagouaroundi), but not in 0 of 2 oncillas (Leopardus tigrinus). Such high seroprevalence in wild felids is of public health significance because of the potential of oocyst shedding. Four of 6 New World primates (2 of 2 Geoffroy´s spider monkey, Ateles geoffroyi, 1 of 3 Patas monkey, Erythrocebus patas, 1 of 1 White-headed capuchin, Cebus capucinus) had high MAT titers of 3200 suggesting recently acquired infection; these animals are highly susceptible to clinical toxoplasmosis. However, none of these animals were ill. Seropositivity to T. gondii was found for the first time in a number of species.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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