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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 #377438

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Epidemiological significance of toxoplasma gondii infections in rodents: 2009-2020

item Dubey, Jitender
item MURATA, FERNANDO - Non ARS Employee
item Kwok, Oliver
item SU, CHUNLEI - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2021
Publication Date: 3/4/2021
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Murata, F.H., Cerqueira-Cezar, C.K., Kwok, O.C., Su, C. 2021. Epidemiological significance of toxoplasma gondii infections in rodents: 2009-2020. Journal of Parasitology. 107(2):182-204.

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. Rodents are the main prey for cats. A cat can excrete millions of oocysts after eating 1 T. gondii infected mouse. The present paper reviews literature on toxoplasmosis in rodents 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. All research included in this paper was accomplished before the termination of ARS Toxoplasma project in 2019.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii infections are common in humans and animals worldwide. Rodents are one of the most important intermediate hosts for T. gondii because they are preyed on by cats who in turn excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts in their feces and thus spread the infection. Information on T. gondii infections is spread in numerous reports, and not easily accessible to readers. Here, we review prevalence, persistence of infection, clinical disease, epidemiology, and genetic diversity of T. gondii infections in rodents worldwide. Data are tabulated by country, by each rodent species alphabetically and chronologically. Recent genetic diversity of T. gondii strains in rodents are critically evaluated. This paper will be of interest to biologists, epidemiologists, veterinarians and parasitologists.