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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 #374883

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Economic and public health importance of toxoplasmosis in sheep: the last decade

item Dubey, Jitender
item MURATA, F. - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item CERQUERIA-CEZAR, C. - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Kwok, Oliver
item SU, C. - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2020
Publication Date: 10/1/2020
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Murata, F.H., Cerqueria-Cezar, C.K., Kwok, O.C., Su, C. 2020. Economic and public health importance of toxoplasmosis in sheep: the last decade. Veterinary Parasitology. 286:109195.

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. Humans become infected mostly by ingesting food and water contaminated with oocysts or by eating infected under cooked meat. Sheep are important for the economy of many countries. The present paper reviews literature on toxoplasmosis in sheep for the past decade. Toxoplasmosis is a major cause of abortion in sheep worldwide. 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 in sheep continues to be of public health and economic concern. There are many unanswered questions concerning ovine toxoplasmosis. The present review summarizes worldwide information on the prevalence of clinical and subclinical infections, epidemiology, diagnosis, control, and genetic diversity of T. gondii in sheep in the past decade. There is debate and uncertainty concerning repeat congenital infection as evidenced by finding T. gondii DNA in progeny of chronically infected sheep. However, there is no concrete evidence that T. gondii is the cause of repeated abortions in sheep. Recent data concerning pathogenesis of abortion in acutely infected sheep are reviewed. PCR-RFLP typing of T. gondii DNA derived from viable T. gondii isolates revealed genetic diversity in sheep in North and South America. The significance of T. gondii isolates in domestic sheep usually associated with wildlife in USA is discussed This review will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, and public health workers.