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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 #327244

Research Project: Integrated Approach to the Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites and the Impact on Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii among turkeys on family farms in the state of Northeastern Brazil

Author
item SA, SIVIO - Universidade De Pernambuco
item LIMA, DEBORA - Universidade De Pernambuco
item SILVA, LUANA - Universidade De Pernambuco
item PINHEIRO, JOSE - Universidade De Pernambuco
item Dubey, Jitender
item DA SILVA, JEAN - Universidade De Pernambuco
item MOTA, RINALDO - Universidade De Pernambuco

Submitted to: Acta Parasitologica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2016
Publication Date: 6/1/2016
Citation: Sa, S., Lima, D., Silva, L., Pinheiro, J., Dubey, J.P., Da Silva, J., Mota, R. 2016. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii among turkeys on family farms in the state of Northeastern Brazil. Acta Parasitologica. 61:401-5.

Interpretive Summary: Human toxoplasmosis, caused by single-celled parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, 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 is considered an important source of toxoplasmosis in humans. Poultry is important in the transmission of Toxoplasma both as direct source of infection for humans, and indirectly as prey for the reservoir host, cats. Cats can excrete millions of environmentally resistant stage (oocyst) in their feces. Humans can acquire toxoplasmosis by ingesting food and water contaminated with oocysts. In the present paper authors found T. gondii infection in 21 of 204 (11%) of turkeys and 13 of 28 (46.6%) chickens from 23 properties in Brazil. The results indicate that chickens were more sensitive as indicators of environmental contamination for T. gondii. These results will be useful for public health workers, veterinarians, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii in turkeys and chickens on family farms in the semi-arid region of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. In order to do so, 204 sera samples from turkeys were analyzed using the Modified Agglutination Test (MAT) and 322 sera samples from chickens were assessed using the Immunofluorescence Assay (IFA). Twenty-eight properties contained turkeys and 23 of these properties also contained chickens. The relative frequency of positive turkeys was 11% (21/204), with 46.6% (13/28) of the properties containing at least one positive turkey. The frequency of positive chickens was 25.8% (83/322), with 95.6% (22/23) of the properties containing at least one positive chicken. Based on the results of the present study, it was possible to conclude that turkeys can serve as an indicator of environmental contamination by oocysts of T. gondii. However, they are less effective than chickens bred in the same conditions. The increasing demand from consumers for naturally produced products should worry local sanitary authorities due to the high prevalence of antibodies against T. gondii found in this type of rearing system, particularly among chickens.