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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 #384239

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

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in wild ruminants in Spain

item CASTRO-SCHOLTEN, SABRINA - Universidad De Cordoba
item CANO-TERRIZA, DAVID - Universidad De Cordoba
item JIMENEZ-RUIZ, SAUL - Universidad De Cordoba
item ALMERIA, SONIA - Food And Drug Administration(FDA)
item RISALDE, MARIA - Universidad De Cordoba
item VICENTE, JOAQUIN - Instituto De Investigación En Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC - CSIC, UCLM, JCCM)
item ACEVEDO, PELAYO - University Of Zaragoza
item ARNAL, MARIA CRUZ - University Of Zaragoza
item BALSEIRO, ANA - University Of Leon
item GOMEZ-GUILLAMON, FELIX - Government Of Andalucia
item ESCRIBANO, FERNANDO - Ministry Of Agriculture And Water Of The Region Of Murcia, Spain
item RIBAS, MARIA - Autonomous University Of Barcelona
item Dubey, Jitender
item GARCIA-BOCANEGRA, IGNACIO - Universidad De Cordoba

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/25/2021
Publication Date: 7/5/2021
Citation: Castro-Scholten, S., Cano-Terriza, D., Jimenez-Ruiz, S., Almeria, S., Risalde, M., Vicente, J., Acevedo, P., Arnal, M., Balseiro, A., Gomez-Guillamon, F., Escribano, F., Ribas, M., Dubey, J.P., Garcia-Bocanegra, I. 2021. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in wild ruminants in Spain. Veterinary Parasitology. 1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Wildlife species can serve as useful sentinels informing us of the degree to which the environment is contaminated with pathogens that threaten livestock and human health. In a long-term collaboration completed prior to USDA’s recent programmatic redirection, ARS researchers assisted an investigation that documented that approximately one- half of wild ruminants (deer etc) were infected by the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii in a national park in Spain. Prevalent infections in those animals suggests widespread exposure, which indicates the need for vigilance in protecting livestock and human health. These results will be of interests to veterinarians, livestock producers, parasitologists and public health workers. This research was completed before redirection of Toxoplasma research at ARS.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic zoonosis caused by Toxoplasma gondii which infects warm-blooded species worldwide. Humans can be infected through ingestion of tissue cysts from raw or undercooked meat, including game meat. A nationwide large-scale cross-sectional study was conducted to assess exposure to T. gondii in 7 wild ruminant species in mainland Spain. Sera were tested for antibodies against T. gondii using the modified agglutination test (MAT; cut-off 1:25). Seroprevalence by species in decreasing order was: 39.6% (141/356) in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 37.1% (138/372) in fallow deer (Dama dama), 16.6% (92/553) in red deer, 13.9% (26/186) in Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica), 11.5% (24/209) in mouflons (Ovis aries musimon), 7.8% (27/346) in Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica) and 5.6% (1/18) in Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia). Seropositivity was detected in 74.0% (57/77) of the sampling sites. Results indicate widespread but not homogeneous exposure to T. gondii in wild ruminant populations in Spain during the last two decades, and highlight differences related to animal species and geography in our country, which imply potential consequences of this protozoan for animal health, conservation, and public health.