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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 #340694

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania spp. in domestic cats from Luanda, Angola

Author
item Lopes, Ana - University Of Tras-Os-montes And Alto Douro
item Oliveira, Ana - Clinica Casa Dos Animais
item Granada, Sara - Clinica Casa Dos Animais
item Rodrigues, Filipa - Institute Polytechnic Of Castelo Branco
item Papadopulos, Elias - Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki
item Schallig, Henk - University Of Tras-Os-montes And Alto Douro
item Dubey, Jitender
item Cardosa, Luis - University Of Tras-Os-montes And Alto Douro

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2017
Publication Date: 4/20/2017
Citation: Lopes, A., Oliveira, A., Granada, S., Rodrigues, F., Papadopulos, E., Schallig, H., Dubey, J.P., Cardosa, L. 2017. Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania spp. in domestic cats from Luanda, Angola. Veterinary Parasitology. 239:15-18.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts 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 oocyst. Leishmania infantum is the agent of zoonotic visceral leishmaniosis, with domestic dogs as its primary reservoir and phlebotomine sand flies as vectors. Despite the fact that both parasites have been found to infect humans and dogs in Angola, no reports are known on T. gondii and/or Leishmania spp. infections in cats from the country. Under this circumstance, the present study aimed at assessing the seroprevalence of these two zoonotic parasites in a sample of the domestic feline population living in the Angolan capital and main city, Luanda. In the present study, 4 out of 102 cats (3.9%) had antibodies to T. gondii but no cat was found seropositive for Leishmania spp. The results indicate low prevalence of T. gondii in domestic cats in Angola and warrant further investigation. These results will be of interest to public health workers, veterinarians, and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania spp. are zoonotic agents of importance to public health, with domestic cats as potential reservoirs for both protozoal infections. The present study aimed at assessing for the first time the seroprevalence of these zoonotic parasites in a domestic feline population living in Luanda, the largest city and capital of Angola. One hundred and two cats were sampled at a veterinary medical centre, from May 2014 to February 2016. The age of cats ranged from 2.5 to 143 months (median: 12 months; interquartile range: 7.5–24). Serum samples were tested for immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies to T. gondii at two-fold dilutions of 1:20 to 1:2560 with a modified agglutination test (MAT) commercial kit. The DAT for titration of IgG antibodies specific to Leishmania spp. used a standard freeze-dried antigen at a concentration of 5 × 107 promastigotes per milliliter, following a predefined protocol. Two-fold dilution series ranging from 1:25 to 1:800 were tested, with a cut-off titre of 100 chosen for seropositivity. Four out of 102 cats (3.9%) had antibodies to T. gondii one had a titer of 20, one a titer of 160, and two had a titer _ 2560. No cat (0.0%) was found seropositive for Leishmania spp. A statistically significant difference was found between seropositivity to T. gondii and to Leishmania spp. (p = 0.043). The risk (odds ratio) of a cat being seropositive to T. gondii increased by an average factor of 1.58 for each 1-year increase in age (p = 0.003). The sampled cats were well-cared animals and may not represent the overall feline population of Angola at the national and city levels. The fact that only 12 out of the 102 sampled cats ate or had access to raw or undercooked meat and/or viscera may have reduced the likelihood of finding seropositive results. Under these circumstances, additional studies, including a larger number of cats, are necessary for a more comprehensive assessment of the zoonotic risk posed by these animals as potential reservoirs of T. gondii and Leishmania spp. in Angola.