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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 #330071

Research Project: Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites for Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in seabirds from Abrolhos Archipelago, Brazil

item GENNARI, SOLANGE - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item NIEMEYER, CLAUDIA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item SOARES, HERBERT - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item MUSSO, CESAR - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item SIQUEIRA, GLAUBER - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item CATAO-DIAS, JOSE - Universidade Nacional De Sao Paulo
item DIAS, RICARDO - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2016
Publication Date: 7/10/2016
Citation: Gennari, S., Niemeyer, C., Soares, H., Musso, C., Siqueira, G., Catao-Dias, J., Dias, R., Dubey, J.P. 2016. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in seabirds from Abrolhos Archipelago, Brazil. Veterinary Parasitology. 226:50-52.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis continues to be a public health problem worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating under cooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. Contamination of environment with oocysts is widespread and even marine waters are contaminated. Here, scientists found antibodies to T. gondii in 24 (34.8%) of 69 fish-eating seabirds ; Sula dactylatra 34.8% (8/23), in Sula leucogaster 47.4% (9/19), in Phaeton aethereus 28% (7/25). Finding of exposure to T. gondii in these birds that feed only on fish suggests that fish are likely contaminated with oocysts. These results will be of interest to biologists and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is a coccidian parasite that infects almost all warm-blooded animals, including birds. Abrolhos is an archipelago of five islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean, 56 nautical kilometers from the south coast of the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. Part of this archipelago is a National Marine Park, which is a conservation area protected by the Brazilian government. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of T. gondii antibodies in sera of seabird's species Sula spp. and Phaeton spp. from breeding colonies located in the Islands of Santa Bárbara and Redonda, Abrolhos's archipelago. Sera were tested by modified agglutination test, first screened at 1:5 dilution (cut-off point) and the positive samples were titrated at a two-fold serial dilution. Serum samples were obtained from 69 birds of four species: Sula dactylatra (23 birds), Sula leucogaster (19 birds), Phaeton aethereus (25 birds) and Phaeton lepturus (2 birds). Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 24 (34.8%) of 69 seabirds with titers that ranged from 5 to 640. Occurrence value in S. dactylatra was 34.8% (8/23), in S. leucogaster was 47.4% (9/19), in P. aethereus was 28% (7/25) and the 2 P. lepturus were negative. This is the first description of T. gondii antibodies in free ranging seabirds of the orders Suliformes and Phaethontiformes.