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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 #322814

Title: Seroprevalence, isolation, first genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii, and possible congenital transmission in wild moose from Minnesota, USA

item VERMA, SHIV - Orise Fellow
item CARSTENSEN, MICHELLE - Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources
item CALERO-BERNAL, RAFAEL - Orise Fellow
item MOORE, SETH - Grand Portage Band Of Lake Superior Chippewa
item JIANG, TIANTIAN - University Of Knoxville
item SU, CHUNLEI - University Of Knoxville
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Parasitology Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/8/2015
Publication Date: 10/16/2015
Citation: Verma, S., Carstensen, M., Calero-Bernal, R., Moore, S., Jiang, T., Su, C., Dubey, J.P. 2015. Seroprevalence, isolation, first genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii, and possible congenital transmission in wild moose from Minnesota, USA. Parasitology Research. 115:687-690.

Interpretive Summary: Human toxoplasmosis accounts for an estimated one-fifth of all diagnosed foodborne infections in the United States, and one fifth of the economic costs attributable to any foodborne pathogen. Pregnant women and their fetuses are exposed to elevated health risks. The ingestion of under cooked infected meat, both domestic and wild animals, is considered an important source of toxoplasmosis in humans. Eating venison is popular, particularly northwestern United States. The authors found antibodies to T. gondii in 10% of 79 moose from Minnesota. They isolated viable Toxoplasma parasites from 3 moose, 2 of them without demonstrable antibodies to T. gondii, indicating that serology may underestimate prevalence. Moose are large animals and 1 infected carcass can be a source of many helpings. Therefore, this may be a significant regional source of foodborne infection. These results will be useful for public health workers, veterinarians, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii infections are widespread in white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) but little is known of its prevalence in other cervids in the USA. Moose (Alces alces) is a popular large game animal, hunted for its meat and trophy antlers. Here, we report seroprevalence, isolation and genetic characterization of T. gondii from moose from Minnesota. Antibodies against T. gondii were detected in 8 of 79 (10%) moose tested by the modified agglutination test (MAT 1:25 or higher). The myocardium of 68 moose was bioassayed individually in mice, irrespective of serological status. T. gondii was detected in 3 moose (2 adults, 1 three-week old). The parasite from 2 adults was further propagated in cell culture. PCR-RFLP genotyping of cell culture derived tachyzoites using 10 genetic markers, SAG1, SAG2 (5’and 3’ SAG2, and alt.SAG2) SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico revealed two different ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotypes (#5, designated TgMooseUS1, and #7, TgMooseUS2). The mice inoculated with myocardium of the juvenile moose developed antibodies against T. gondii and DNA extracted from infected mouse brain was only partially characterized by PCR-RFLP genotyping, which suggests a potential new genotype. Result documented prevalence of T. gondii in moose, and its possible transplacental/transmammary transmission of T. gondii in moose.