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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Research Project #430101

Research Project: Determination of Seroprevalence to Toxoplasma gondii in the U.S. National Swine Herd

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32420-007-10-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2015
End Date: Apr 1, 2018

The first objective of the proposed research is to establish seroprevalence of Toxoplasma in the U.S. swine herd as measured in a statistically valid animal level sampling of market weight pigs at slaughter. This survey will cover 95% of slaughter production in the U.S., and provide the most current national dataset for Toxoplasma seroprevalence in market pigs destined for the fresh meat case. The data can be used to support science-based decisions on the most effective methods to continue the trend of decreasing seroprevalence of Toxoplasma in market pigs, which are the primary livestock commodity known to be infected with Toxoplasma. These data should demonstrate the extent to which the level of Toxoplasma has been reduced in commercial pork as compared to previous surveys, and demonstrate the reduction of risk from Toxoplasma transmission from pork to humans in the U.S.

NEA proposes to conduct a national serological survey in market weight slaughter pigs to determine the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the national swine herd. NEA will use a commercially available, USDA validated Enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assay and sera collected on site to detect Toxoplasma positive samples; all ELISA positive samples will be retested using the modified agglutination test (MAT). The survey will provide a measure of the current national seroprevalence of Toxoplasma infections in market pigs, and provide evidence of the impact of industry-led changes in swine management on reduction of this zoonotic pathogen in the U.S. commercial pork supply.