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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 #344714

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Occurrence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in the scavenging black vultures (Coragyps atratus) from Brazil

item GENNARI, SOLANGE - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item RASO, TANIA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item GUIDA, FERNANDA - Fundação Parque Zoológico De São Paulo
item PENA, HILDA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item SOARES, HERBERT - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2017
Publication Date: 8/1/2017
Citation: Gennari, S., Raso, T., Guida, F., Pena, H., Soares, H., Dubey, J.P. 2017. Occurrence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in the scavenging black vultures (Coragyps atratus) from Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research. 54:197-199.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis, caused by a single celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii, continues to be a worldwide human health concern. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children and abortion in livestock. The consumption of food and water contaminated with an environmentally resistant stage (oocyst) excreted by domestic and wild cats, and the ingestion of uncooked meat containing the encysted stage (tissue cyst) are the 2 major ways of transmission. The prevalence of the parasite in vultures can provide an estimate of environmental contamination because they can be seen around waste dumps and eat the dead carcasses of animals. In the present study, the authors found antibodies to Toxoplasma in 16 (13.2%) of 121 black vultures in Brazil for the first time. This report will be of interest to biologists, veterinarians and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: This is the first report of Toxoplasma gondii infection in black vultures (Coragyps atratus) that are are obligate scavenging birds found throughout the American continent. Serum samples from 121 wild black vultures captured in urban areas of the city of São Paulo, SP, Brazil, were tested for the presence of T. gondii antibodies by the modified agglutination test (MAT, cut-off 1:5). T. gondii antibodies were found in 16 (13.2%) of 131 vultures with titers of 1:5 (6 birds), 1:10 (8 birds), and 1:20 (2 birds).