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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307355

Research Project: INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE DETECTION AND CONTROL OF FOODBORNE PARASITES AND THE IMPACT ON FOOD SAFETY

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Prevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in meat products destined for human consumption

Author
item GUO, MIAO - University Of Maryland
item Dubey, Jitender
item Hill, Dolores
item BUCHANAN, ROBERT - University Of Maryland
item GAMBLE, RAY - National Academy Of Science
item JONES, JEFFERY - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item PRADHAN, ABNI - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2015
Publication Date: 2/20/2015
Citation: Guo, M., Dubey, J.P., Hill, D.E., Buchanan, R., Gamble, R., Jones, J., Pradhan, A. 2015. Prevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in meat products destined for human consumption. Journal of Food Protection. 78(2):457-76.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection of humans and animals and it continues to be public health, responsible for approximately 24% of all estimated deaths attributed to foodborne pathogens in the U.S. People become infected with T. gondii by consuming infected uncooked meat, or by ingesting food and water contaminated with the environmentally resistant stage of the parasite excreted by cats. Here, we summarize ten years of data on the prevalence and risk factors of human infection resulting from eating conventional and organic meat. We identify production practices that predispose to infection in animals, note greater rates of infection in pigs, sheep, and poultry than in beef, and place special emphasis on the exposure risks inherent to outdoor pasturage and contact with cats. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that is responsible for approximately 24% of all estimated deaths attributed to foodborne pathogens in the U.S. Human infection results from accidental ingestion of oocysts, from the environment, in water or on insufficiently washed produce or through consumption of raw or undercooked meat products that contain T. gondii tissue cysts. The objective of this study was to summarize prevalence and risk factors of human T. gondii infection resulting from ingestion of meat products, both conventional and organic, over the past 10 years. This review was focused on studies of T. gondii infection attributed to meat ingestion because substantial proportions of human T. gondii infection are acquired through consumption of raw or undercooked meat. Prevalence of T. gondii is higher in conventionally reared pigs, sheep and poultry as compared to cattle. Prevalence of T. gondii is greater in meat products from organic compared to conventionally reared meat animals because of outdoor access that poses substantially greater opportunities for exposure to infected rodents, wildlife, and oocyst-contaminated feed, water, or environmental surfaces. Risk factors related to T. gondii exposure for livestock include farm type, feed source, presence of cats, methods of rodent and bird control, carcasses handling and water quality. This review serves as a useful resource and information repository for informing quantitative risk assessment studies for T. gondii infection in humans through meat consumption.