Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2010
Publication Date: 6/15/2011
Citation: Larkin, J.L., Gabriel, M., Gerhold, R.W., Yabsley, M.J., Wester, J.C., Humphreys, J.G., Beckstead, R., Dubey, J.P. 2011. Prevalence to Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis spp. In a reintroduced fisher (Martes pennanti) population in Pennsylvania. Journal of Parasitology. 97:425-429. 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 prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in fishers from Pennysylvania.on new genetic type of Toxoplasma from a bear. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, public health workers, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Understanding the role of disease in population regulation is important to the conservation of wildlife. We evaluated the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis spp in 46 road-killed and accidental trapper-killed fisher carcasses collected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and stored at -20 C from February 2002 to October 2008. Blood samples were assayed for T. gondii antibodies using the modified agglutination test (MAT, 1:25) and an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT, 1:128). For genetic analysis, DNA samples were extracted from 0.5 g each of thoracic limb and pelvic limb skeletal muscle to test for Sarcocystis spp using an 18s-PCR analysis. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 100% (38 of 38) of the fishers tested by MAT and 71% (32 of 45) of the fishers tested by IFAT. The 18s PCR analysis revealed that 83% (38 of 46) of the fishers were positive for Sarcocystis spp. Data from our study suggest that a high percentage of Pennsylvania fishers have been exposed to both T. gondii and Sarcosystis spp.