Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/24/2004
Publication Date: 5/4/2004
Citation: Sedlak, K., Bartova, E., Literak, I., Vodicka, R., Dubey, J.P. 2004. Toxoplasmosis in captive nilgais (Boselaphus tragocamelus) and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 35(4):530-533. Interpretive Summary: Infectiion by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii is common in humans and animals. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the State Veterinary Institute, Prague, Czech Republic report abortion due to toxoplasmosis in antelopes and death in a nilgai. The results will be of interest to parasitologists, pathologists and wildlife veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Three female nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) aborted two fetuses and two of newborn died within 2 days after birth at about the same time. Toxoplasma gondii DNA was demonstrated in the brains and livers of both fetuses and in one of the two newborn by single-stage polymerase chain reaction with TGR1E and by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction with B1 gene. Retrospectively, antibodies titers ' 640 to T. gondii in indirect fluorescent antibody test were found in sera of all three female nilgai and also in a male nilgai used to breed them. No other cause of abortion was detected. This is the first report of T. gondii in fetal tissues of nilgai. In the second case, fatal toxoplasmosis was diagnosed in one adult female captive saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) that died suddenly, T. gondii was found in its liver, lung, spleen, kidney and intestine. An unusual finding was the presence of numerous tissue cysts in the liver of the antelope. The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis was confirmed by PCR and immunohistochemically. Toxoplasmic hepatitis and pneumonia were considered to be probably primary cause of death, however, Muellerius sp. and Pasteurella multocida were also detected in lung.