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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Brillhart D B
item Fox L B
item Dubey Jitender P
item Upton S J

Submitted to: Society of Washington Journal of Helminthological
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/1994
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Infection by the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is widely prevalent in man animals in the United States. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision i congenitally infected children. Approximately 40% of adult U.S. population has been exposed to T. gondii. The 2 major ways of transmission are the ingestion of food and water contaminated with infected cat feces and the ingestion of tissue cysts from meat of infected animals. Cates are the only animals that can directly transmit T. gondii infection because they excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts in their feces. Cats become infected with T. gondii by ingesting infected rodents and bird tissues. The prevalence of T. gondii in rodents and small mammals in the U.S. is unknown. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the Kansas State University report T. gondii antibodies in 84 of 516 (16%) mammals in Kansas. Raccoons (44%) had the highest prevalence. The data will be useful in epidemiologic studies.

Technical Abstract: Between 1989 and 1993, serum samples from 516 mammals in Kansas representing 17 species were examined for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii using a modified direct-agglutination test. The overall prevalence was 84/516 (16%) mammals infected. When considering only animals where adequate sample sizes were available, the highest prevalences were found in raccoons (Procyon lotor) of which 14/20 (70%) were infected, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with 47/106 (44%) sero-positive, and Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) with a prevalence of 9/28 (32%). The sero-prevalence in rodents and pronghorn antelopes was < 8%.

Last Modified: 05/24/2017
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