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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 #373478

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: All about toxoplasmosis in cats: the last decade

item Dubey, Jitender
item CERQUEIRA-CEZAR, CAMILA - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item MURATA, FERNANDO - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Kwok, Oliver
item YANG, YURONG - Henan Agricultural University
item SU, CHNLEI - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2020
Publication Date: 5/18/2020
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Cerqueira-Cezar, C.K., Murata, F.H., Kwok, O.C., Yang, Y., Su, C. 2020. All about toxoplasmosis in cats: the last decade. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 0304-4017.

Interpretive Summary: Food safety research is of paramount importance for agriculture and the public. Foodborne protozoon infections are a leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States, especially for individuals with weak immune systems such as children and HIV patients. USDA research in this area has borne undeniable results – including helping to cut the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii by as much as 50 percent in the United States. The USDA provided the veterinary, clinical, and public health communities an indispensable resource by disseminating up to date scientific information on toxoplasmosis and its prevention. Cats are the most important hosts in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the host species that can excrete environmentally resistant stage (oocysts) in their feces. The present paper reviews literature on toxoplasmosis in cats for the past decade. This information will support veterinarians, physicians, and federal agencies seeking to advance additional research needed in this area regarding human health.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii infections are common in humans and animals worldwide. Toxoplasmosis continues to be of public health concern. Cats (domestic and wild felids) are the most important host in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis because they are the only species that can excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts in feces. Cats can excrete millions of oocysts and a single cat can spread infection to many hosts. The present paper summarizes information on prevalence, persistence of infection, clinical signs, and diagnosis of T. gondii infections in domestic and wild cats for the past decade. Special emphasis is paid to genetic diversity of T. gondii isolates from cats. Review of literature indicates that a unique genotype (ToxoDB #9 or Chinese 1) is widely prevalent in cats in China and it has been epidemiologically linked to outbreaks of clinical toxoplasmosis in pigs and deaths in humans in China; this genotype has rarely been detected in other countries. Another issue of public health importance concerning frequency of oocyst excretion by cats is discussed in detail. Evidence is presented that cats can excrete oocysts more than once in their life. This review will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, and public health workers.