Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2002
Publication Date: 4/3/2002
Citation: Silva, C.R., Ogassawara, S., Marvulo, M.F., Ferreira-Neto, J.S., Dubey, J.P. 2002. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in exotic wild felids from brazilian zoos. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 32:349-351. Interpretive Summary: Infection by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii is widely prevalent in humans and animals. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoirs of infection because they are the only hosts that can excrete environmentally resistant Toxoplasma (oocysts) in their feces. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil found antibodies to T. gondii in 24 o 37 felids exotic to Brazil, including lynxs, jungle cats, servals, tigers, leopards, and lions. These cats probably had already shed oocysts in the environment. These results will be of interest to public health workers, veterinarians, and wildlife biologists.
Technical Abstract: Serum samples from 37 captive exotic felids in 12 zoos from six Brazilian states were assayed for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test using formalin-fixed whole tachyzoites. Titers greater then or equal to 1:20 were considered positive. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 24 of 37 (64.9%) felids, including on European lynx (Lynx lynx), two jungle cats (Felis chaus), two servals (Leptailurus serval), tw tigers (Panthera tigris), three leopards (Panthera pardus, and 14 of 27 lions (Panthera leo). This is the first serologic analysis for T. gondii infection in exotic wild felids from Brazilian zoos.