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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 #354798

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: The one health approach to Toxoplasmosis: ecoepidemiological effects on humans, domestic animals, wildlife and ecosystems

Author
item Aguirre, A Alonso - George Mason University
item Longcore, Travis - University Of California
item Barbieri, Michelle - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
item Dabritz, Haydee - Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency
item Hill, Dolores
item Lepczyk, Christopher - Auburn University
item Lilly, Emily - Virginia Military Institute
item Mcleod, Rima - University Of Chicago
item Milcarsky, Judith - Consultant
item Murphy, Caroline - The Wildlife Society
item Su, Chunlei - University Of Tennessee
item Vanwormer, Elizabeth - University Of Nebraska
item Yolken, Robert - Johns Hopkins University
item Sizemore, Grant - American Bird Conservatory

Submitted to: EcoHealth
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/24/2019
Publication Date: 4/3/2019
Citation: Aguirre, A., Longcore, T., Barbieri, M., Dabritz, H., Hill, D.E., Lepczyk, C., Lilly, E.L., Mcleod, R., Milcarsky, J., Murphy, C.E., Su, C., Vanwormer, E., Yolken, R., Sizemore, G.C. 2019. The one health approach to Toxoplasmosis: ecoepidemiological effects on humans, domestic animals, wildlife and ecosystems. EcoHealth. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-019-01405-7
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-019-01405-7

Interpretive Summary: One Health emphasizes the need to bridge disciplines linking human health, animal health, and ecosystem health. Toxoplasmosis, caused by Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular protozoan infection distributed worldwide, with a heteroxenous life cycle that practically affects all homeotherms and in which domestic cats act as definite reservoirs. Herein, we review the natural history of T. gondii, its transmission and impacts in domestic animals, wildlife both terrestrial and aquatic, and ecosystems. Several approaches are suggested that could help protect human, domestic animal, wildlife and ecosystem health; hopefully, facilitating of this disease and promoting transdisciplinary collaborations, integrative research and capacity building among universities, government agencies, NGOs, policy makers and the general public.

Technical Abstract: As a global strategy, One Health recognizes the interconnectedness of health of people, animals, plants, and ecosystems from the local to the global levels and employs a holistic approach encouraging and expanding transdisciplinary collaborations, integrative research, capacity building, clinical practice, policy, and communication among many stakeholders. This approach can overcome bureaucratic boundaries and represents an opportunity for new partnerships focused on solutions for humans, animals, plants and the environment (Zinsstag et al. 2012; Rubin et al. 2014; Aguirre et al. 2016). Toxoplasmosis, caused by the coccidian parasite Toxoplasma gondii, qualifies as a One Health disease because it significantly affects human, domestic animal, wildlife and ecosystem health, and is perceived as a threat by those who rely on animal resources (Crozier and Schulte-Hostedde 2014; Jenkins et al. 2015). The complicated relationships across taxa are compounded by changing practices and attitudes towards the control of owned and unowned outdoor (feral) domestic cats (Felis catus) which are the obligate reservoirs of the parasite in urban and suburban settings, where native wild felids are largely absent (Afonso et al. 2008). New research on the impacts of toxoplasmosis (Ngo et al. 2017; Suvisaari et al. 2017) increases the need for greater institutional awareness of the pathways of infection and comprehensive and transdisciplinary actions to control transmission using the One Health approach. Such cooperation has thus far been elusive, perhaps in part to lack of familiarity with the biology of T. gondii or its significant adverse impacts on health (Efunshile et al. 2017). Herein, we review the natural history of T. gondii, its transmission and impacts, and suggest approaches that could help protect human, domestic animal, wildlife and ecosystem health, with the goal of facilitating a better understanding of this disease and promoting transdisciplinary collaborations, integrative research and capacity building among universities, government agencies, NGOs, policy makers and the general public.