|Gauss, C B|
Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2005
Publication Date: 7/4/2005
Citation: Gauss, C.I., Dubey, J.P., Vidal, D., Ruiz, F., Vicente, J., Marco, I., Lavin, S., Gortazar, C., Almeria, S. 2005. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild pigs (Sus scrofa) from Spain. Veterinary Parasitology. 131:151-156. 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 undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Univ. Barcolona, Spain have found a very high prevalence of T. gondii in wild pigs hunted for food.The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, public health workers, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Sera collected from 507 hunter-killed wild pigs (Sus scrofa) between 1993 and 2004 from 5 geographic regions in northern Spain and 7 regions in southern Spain were assayed for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies to T. gondii were detected in 185 (38.4 %) of 507 pigs with titers of 1:25 in 71, 1:50 in 111, and ' 1:500 in 3; seroprevalence was significantly higher (P< 0.05) in pigs from southern regions. Seroprevalence was density dependent; it was higher in pigs from high stocking per hectare and availability of forage. Statistically significant differences were not observed between T. gondii seroprevalence and hunting estates (open versus fenced), sex or age. Serological results indicate a widespread exposure to T. gondii among Spanish wild boars, suggesting that this population could represent a public health risk for persons that handle or consume raw or undercooked infected wild pig meat.