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Title: Occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in birds from the Atlantic Forest, state of São Paulo, Brazil

item SOLANGE, GENNARI - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item OGRZEWALSKA, MARIA - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item SOARES, HERBERT - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item SARAIVA, DANILO - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item PINTER, ADIANO - Superintendência De Controle De Endemias (SUCEN)
item LABRUNA, MARCELO - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2013
Publication Date: 2/1/2014
Citation: Solange, G., Ogrzewalska, M., Soares, H., Saraiva, D., Pinter, A., Labruna, M., Dubey, J.P. 2014. Occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in birds from the Atlantic Forest, state of São Paulo, Brazil. Veterinary Parasitology. 200:193-197.

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 under cooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. In the present study, authors found that wild birds even in Amazon jungle were infected with Toxoplasma and likeky source of infection for cats and carnivores. The results will be of interest to biologists, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Avians are considered important intermediate hosts for Toxoplasma gondii because they serve as source of infection for Felidae, which shed environmentally resistant oocysts after ingesting infected tissues. Little is known of the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in wild birds. In the present study, antibodies to T. gondii were determined in 202 wild birds of 37 species captured in seven small areas of the Atlantic Forest, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and provided information on possible associated risk factors. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT) and found in 73 (36.1%) of 202 birds with titers of 1:5 in 16 samples, 1:10 in 26 samples, 1:20 in 17 samples, 1:40 in 10 samples, 1:80 in three samples, and 1:160 in one sample. No association was observed between T. gondii seropositivity and the local where the birds were collected. Seropositivity was higher in birds that lived on the forest floor (p<0.001; U=1230.0), and in omnivorous birds (p=0.007; U=3939.0). T. gondii antibodies were reported for the first time in 23 species of birds enlarging the host range of this parasite. Notably, T. gondii antibodies were found in 83.3% (15/18) of the Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris).