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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 #334750

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in feral swine (Sus scrofa) in the United States

Author
item Cerqueria-cezar, Camila - Non ARS Employee
item Pedersen, Kerri - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Calero-bernal, Rafael - Non ARS Employee
item Kwok, Oliver
item Villena, Isabelle - Universite De Reims Champagne-Ardenne
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2016
Publication Date: 6/20/2016
Citation: Cerqueria-Cezar, C., Pedersen, K., Calero-Bernal, R., Kwok, O.C., Villena, I., Dubey, J.P. 2016. Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in feral swine (Sus scrofa) in the United States. Veterinary Parasitology. 226:35-37.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis, caused by a single celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii continues to be a public health problem worldwide. It causes abortion in livestock and mental retardation and loss of vision in children. Diagnosis of abortion in livestock is difficult because of many causes. Neosporosis, caused by a related parasite, Neospora caninum, is a very important cause of abortion in dairy cattle. N. caninum and T. gondii were considered the same organism until in 1988 ARS researchers developed diagnostic methods to separate these organisms. The feral swine population in the US is estimated at five million and continues to expand. Feral swine are now found in at least 35 states due to natural range expansion and illegal movement of animals for hunting opportunities. Feral swine are often observed at free range domestic pig facilities due to access to food resources. As a result, localized populations of feral swine pose an increasing risk to non-biosecure domestic swine farms by serving as reservoirs for pathogens which may be transmitted to domestic swine. In the present study the researchers found antibodies to N. caninum in 159 (15%) of 1059 feral swine from 29 states. Results indicate widespread exposure of feral swine to N. caninum infection across the US. These results will be of interest to biologists, veterinarians and wildlife researchers.

Technical Abstract: The protozoon Neospora caninum is a major cause of abortion in cattle worldwide. Canids (Canis familiaris, Canis latrans, Canis lupus) are its definitive hosts whereas many other animal species, including pigs are intermediate hosts for the parasite. Feral swine may serve as sentinels for the parasite in a defined area/region. Between 2012 and 2014, serum samples from 1059 feral swine (Sus scrofa) from 29 states of the US were tested for N. caninum antibodies, using the N. caninum agglutination test (NAT). Of these, 159 (15.0%) animals tested positive, with a range of titers of 1:25 (cut-off) (153), 1:200 (1), 1:400 (1), 1:800 (3) and 1:3200 (1), mostly in adults (P<0.01) and female (P=0.624). Results indicate widespread exposure of feral swine to N. caninum infection across the US.