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Title: Serological and parsitological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild birds from Colorado

item Dubey, Jitender
item FELIX, T - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Kwok, Oliver

Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2010
Publication Date: 10/10/2010
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Felix, T.A., Kwok, O.C. 2010. Serological and parsitological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild birds from Colorado. Journal of Parasitology. 96:937-938.

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. This paper reports Seroprevalence of T. gondii in birds from Colorado. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, public health workers, and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: Ground feeding birds are considered important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they serve as indicators of soil contamination by oocysts and birds of prey are indicators of T. gondii prevalence in rodents and other small mammals. Cats excrete environmentally resistant oocysts after consuming tissues of T. gondii-infected birds. In the present study, sera and tissues from 249 wild birds from Colorado were tested for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 31 birds using the modified agglutination test (MAT, 1:25 titer). Tissues (brains, hearts) of 63 birds were bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 1 of 1 barn owl (Tyto alba), 1 of 5 American kestrels (Falco sparverius), 1 of 6 ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis), and 1 of 4 rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus). This is the first time T. gondii has been isolated from the barn owl, ferruginous hawk, and rough-legged hawk.