|Gauss, C B L|
Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2006
Publication Date: 4/4/2006
Citation: Gauss, C., Dubey, J.P., Vidal, D., Cabezon, O., Ruiz-Fons, F., Vicente, J., Marco, I., Lavin, S., Gortazar, C., Almeria, S. 2006. Prevalence of toxoplasma gondii antibodies in red deer (cervus elaphus) and other wild ruminants from Spain. Veterinary Parasitology. 136:193-200. 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. of Barcelona, Spain report first survey of T. gondii infection in deer in Spain. The results will be of interest to veterinarian, parasitologists and hunters.
Technical Abstract: Serum samples from 441 red deer (Cervus elaphus) and 161 other wild ruminant species, collected between 1993 and 2005 from six regions of Spain were tested for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies to T. gondii (MAT 1:25 or higher) were detected in 15.6% of red deer. Statistically significant differences were observed among sampling sites with seroprevalence in red deer from Catalonia (42.2%) being significantly higher compared with other Spanish regions (8.7%) (P<0.05). Statistically significant differences were not observed between T. gondii seroprevalence and sex, age or management of hunting estates (open versus fenced). Seroprevalence of T.gondii infection in other ruminants species was 24% of 79 fallow deer (Dama dama), 21.8% of 33 in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 33.3% of three Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), 20% of 10 chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica), 10% of 10 barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia), and 14.8% of 27 mouflon (Ovis ammon) in areas not including Catalonia, where no samples from these species were available. Serological results indicated a widespread exposure to T. gondii among wildlife in Spain and suggest that consumption of raw or inadequately cooked meat, as well as handling carcasses of wild game, should be taken into account as a source of infection for humans.