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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii in captive nonhuman primates in zoos in Spain

Author
item Cano-terriza, David - Universidad De Cordoba
item Almeria, Sonia - Food And Drug Administration(FDA)
item Caballero-gomez, Javier - Universidad De Cordoba
item Diaz-cao, Jose - Universidad De Cordoba
item Ruiz-jiminez, Saul - Universidad De Cordoba
item Dubey, Jitender
item García-bocanegra, Ignacio - Universidad De Cordoba

Submitted to: Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2019
Publication Date: 4/16/2019
Citation: Cano-Terriza, D., Almeria, S., Caballero-Gomez, J., Diaz-Cao, J.M., Ruiz-Jiminez, S., Dubey, J.P., García-Bocanegra, I. 2019. Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii in captive nonhuman primates in zoos in Spain. Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 65:54-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cimid.2019.04.002
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cimid.2019.04.002

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis, caused by the single celled parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, continues to be a public health problem worldwide. This parasite infects all warm-blooded hosts, including humans. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. The ingestion of food and water contaminated with resistant stage of the parasite, the oocyst, is a major mode of transmission of this parasite. Toxoplasma infection in zoos is of special interest because captive animal species are highly susceptible to toxoplasmosis and children visiting zoos are at risk of Toxoplasma exposure. Toxoplasmosis causes severe mortality in New World Primates. In the present study authors report T. gondii exposure in primates in a zoo in Spain and propose preventive measures. These results will be of interest to biologists and parasitologists, and zoo personnel.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is a widely distributed zoonotic protozoan parasite, which can affect most warm-blooded species. Some species of non-human primates (NHPs) are highly susceptible to T. gondii infection. The aim of the study was to determine the seroprevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in NHPs housed in zoos in Spain. Sera from 189 NHPs belonging to 33 species were collected in eight zoos. Additionally, 10 of the 189 animals were longitudinally sampled. Anti-T. gondii antibodies were detected in 48 NHPs (25.4%; confidence interval of 95% (CI95%): 19.2-31.6) using a modified agglutination test (MAT; cut-off = 25). Seropositive animals had titers of 25 (6.3%), 50 (8.3%), 100 (8.3%) and =500 (68.8%). Seropositivity was detected in 15 of the 33 species (45.5%). Of the 10 NHPs sampled more than once, two animals (one Barbary macaque [Macaca sylvanus] and one common chimpanzee [Pan toglodytes]) seroconverted along the study period, while one seropositive chimpanzee increased antibody titers over time. The Hominidae family (OR=5.9; CI95%: 2.7-12.8) and sex (females) (OR=2.1; CI95%: 1.1-4.1) were risk factors potentially associated with seropositivity to T. gondii. Our results evince a widespread circulation of T. gondii in NHPs in zoos in Spain, which may be of conservation concern. Control measures should be implemented to minimize the risk of exposure of these species to T. gondii.