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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 #383476

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Recent epidemiologic, clinical, subclinical and genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii infections in bats

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

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2021
Publication Date: 9/8/2021
Citation: Yang, Y., Murata, F., Cerqueira-Cezar, C., Kwok, O.C., Su, C., Dubey, J.P. 2021. Recent epidemiologic, clinical, subclinical and genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii infections in bats. Microorganisms. 140:193-197.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii infects virtually all warm-blooded animals, including bats. Depending on their diet, species of bats are categorized as frugivorous, insectivorous, omnivorous, hematophagous, nectarivorous or carnivorous. Owls, eagles, and cats can serve as bat predators. Bats may be important in the epidemiology of T. gondii because they can be sentinels and can spread infection. Viable T. gondii has been isolated from the brain, heart, and pectoral muscles of bats. The present review summarizes worldwide information on the seroprevalence, molecular epidemiology, isolation, genotypes, and clinical cases of T. gondii infection in bats. Further studies are needed to verify the validity of serological and molecular tests, and to trace transmission routes of T. gondii infection in bats.

Technical Abstract: 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. Bats are sentinel for the presence of Toxoplasma in the environment. They are also eaten by cats, which can further spread infection. Bats also serve as food for humans in some countries. Here the authors reviewed literature from the past five decades, including but not limited to scientific discoveries made by USDA scientists. No experiments or surveys were performed since the redirection of USDA’s program on toxoplasmosis.