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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 #377292

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Toxoplasma gondii infections in dogs: 2009-2020

item Dubey, Jitender
item MURATA, FERNANDO - Non ARS Employee
item Kwok, Oliver
item YANG, YURONG - Henan Agricultural University
item SU, CHINLEI - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2020
Publication Date: 11/1/2020
Publication URL:
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Murata, F.H., Cerquiera-Cezar, C.K., Kwok, O.C., Yang, Y., Su, C. 2020. Toxoplasma gondii infections in dogs: 2009-2020. Veterinary Parasitology. 287:109223.

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. Dogs are one of the sources of T. gondii infections in humans. The present paper reviews literature on toxoplasmosis in dogs 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. The present review summarizes worldwide information on the prevalence of clinical and subclinical infections, epidemiology, diagnosis, and genetic diversity of T. gondii in dogs (Canis familiaris) in the past decade. Antibodies to T. gondii present worldwide were tabulated; nearly half of canine population in Brazil exposed to T. gondii. Most clinical canine cases of toxoplasmosis were in immunosuppressed dogs, and ulcerative dermatitis was one of the main presentations. Reports of high congenital transmission of T. gondii in dogs in Brazil are reviewed. Dogs can ingest T. gondii-infected cat feces and these oocysts remain viable passage through the gut of the dog; T. gondii DNA was found in feces of 4 of 120 dogs from New York City parks in USA. Genetic diversity based on PCR-RFLP markers using DNA derived from viable T. gondii isolates from dogs from several countries is discussed. T. gondii strains from Asia and Americas were more genetically diverse than those from Africa. This review will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, veterinarians, and public health workers.