Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323045


Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Survey of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus Forster, 1781)

item GENNARI, SOLANGE - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item NIEYMEYER, CLAUDIA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item CATAO-DIAS, JOSE - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item SOARES, HERBERT - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item ACOUSTA, IGOR - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item DIAS, RICARDO - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item RIBEIRO, JESSICA - Sabina Escola Parque Do Conhecimento
item LASSALVIA, CHRISTIANE - Aquario Municipal De Santos
item MAYORGA, LUIS - Instituto De Pesquisa E Reabilitacao De Animais Marinhos
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2015
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Gennari, S., Nieymeyer, C., Catao-Dias, J., Soares, H., Acousta, I., Dias, R., Ribeiro, J., Lassalvia, C., Kolesnikovas, C., Mayorga, L., Dubey, J.P. 2016. Survey of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus Forster, 1781). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 47:364-6.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii an obligate, single-celled, protozoan parasite continues to be a major zoonotic health concern in human and veterinary medicine because it is capable of infecting any warm-blooded vertebrate intermediate host. As the definitive host, cats are fundamental in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis. Millions of oocysts can be excreted in the feces of a single cat and oocysts can survive outdoors for months. It causes mortality in many species of endangered species, including penguins. Many aspects of this parasite transmission are unknown, including the possibility of transmission to remote areas without cats. Penguins migrate across oceans. The Magellanic penguins breed on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America. In the present study the authors found antibodies to T. gondii in 28% of 100 penguins in a rehabilitation center in Brazil, suggesting contamination of waters with oocysts of the parasite. The results will be of interest to biologists, veterinarians, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) breed on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the southernmost parts of South America and migrate northwards up to Peru and Brazil. Serum samples (n = 100) from Magellanic penguins from 3 zoos and 2 rehabilitation centres in Brazil were assayed for the presence of antibodies to T. gondii by means of the modified agglutination test (MAT, cut-off = 20). The penguins were categorized as young (= 4 years old) or adults (= 4 years old), sexed (male, female, or sex not recorded), and data were analysed using the chi-square test (p = 0.05). Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were found in 28% of panguins; in 25.8% males, in 27.8% females, in 30.3% of unknown gender, in 25.4% of young and 31.1% of adults birds. Statistical analyses did not find any difference with respect to age, gender or the source of the birds. This is the first report of T. gondii antibodies in Spheniscus magellanicus.