Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/25/2004
Publication Date: 5/10/2004
Citation: Ekanayake, D.K., Rajapakse, R.P., Dubey, J.P., Dittus, W.P. 2004. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Journal of Parasitology. 90(4):870-871. Interpretive Summary: Infection by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii is common in livestock and humans. It causes abortion in livestock and mental retardation in children. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka report toxoplasma infection in wild toque macaques for the first time. These results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: From a natural population that inhabits dry evergreen forest at Polonnaruwa, serum samples of 170 toque macaques were examined for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test. Of these, 21 (12%) were found with titers of 1:16 in 9, 1:32 in 9, 1:256 in 1, 1:1,024 in 1, and 1:4,096 in 1. There was no evidence of maternal transmission of antibodies or congenital toxoplasmosis. None of the infected macaques died within 1 year after sampling. Toxoplasma gondii infection was closely linked to human environments where domestic cats were common: Macaques having frequent contact with human settlements showed a significantly greater (P<0.0001) prevalence (19% infected) than strictly forest living macaques, none of which were infected. Although infection with T. gondii has been noted in several species of Asian primates, this is the first report of T. gondii antibodies in toque macaques (Macaca sinica) that are endemic to the island of Sri Lanka.