Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2007
Publication Date: 8/20/2007
Citation: Sobrino, R., Cabezon, O., Millan, J., Pabon, M., Arnal, M.C., Luco, D.F., Gortizar, C., Dubey, J.P., Almeria, S. 2007. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in wild carnivores from Spain. Veterinary Parasitology. 148:187-192.
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 a Univ.ersity in Spain report first survey of T. gondii infection in wild carnivores in Spain. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Serum samples from 282 wild carnivores from different regions of Spain were tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test using a cut-off value of 1:25. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 22 of 27 (81.5%) of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), three of six European wildcats (Felis silvestris), 66 of 102 (64.7%) red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 15 of 32 (46.9%) wolves (Canis lupus), 26 of 37 (70.3%) Eurasian badgers (Meles meles), 17 of 20 (85.0%) stone martens (Martes foina), four of four pine martens (Martes martes), six of six Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra), four of four polecats (Mustela putorius), one of one ferret (Mustela putorius furo), 13 of 21 (61.9%) European genets (Genetta genetta), and 13 of 22 (59.1%) Egyptian mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon). Serological results indicated a widespread exposure to T. gondii among wild carnivores in Spain. The high T. gondii seroprevalence in Iberian lynx and the European wildcat reported here may be of epidemiologic significance because seropositive cats might have shed oocysts.