Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Infections by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii are widely prevalent in livestock and humans. It causes abortion in livestock and mental retardation and loss of vision in congenitally infected children. Infection rates in wild omnivores serves as an indicator of the parasite in the environment because they ingest both meat infected with T. gondii and food and water contaminated with oocysts from infected feces of cats. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the University of Illinois found T. gondii antibodies in 49% of 379 raccoons from Illinois. These results indicate widespread contamination of the environ by T. gondii and the results will be of interest to parasitologists and wildlife biologists.
Technical Abstract: The determination of serologic titers to infectious organisms is a valuable tool for quantitating exposure to disease organisms. Raccoon were live-trapped from September 1989 to October 1993 and samples collected from two distinct locations in west-central Illinois (USA); a state recreational facility (Park) and privately owned farming property (Farm). Sera were submitted for testing Leptospira interrogans (serovars bratislava, canicola, grippotyphosa, hardjo, icterohemmorhagiae, and pomona), canine distemper virus (CDV), pseudorabies virus (PV), and Toxoplamsa gondii. Two-hundred and twenty-two (48%) out of 459 raccoons were seropositive for L. interrogans. Eighty-five (23%) out of 368 raccoons were seropositive for canine distemper virus. Eighty-two (17%) out of 479 raccoons were seropositve for pseudorabies virus. One-hundred and eighty-four (49%) out of 379 raccoons were seropositive for T. gondii. A significant difference (P<0.05) in seroprevalence for L. interrogans between the park (43%) and farm (52%) areas was found. A correlation between increasing age and seroprevalence was found for L. interrogans, CDV, PV, and T. gondii. Furthermore, there was a significant difference in seroprevalence for T. gondii during the spring trapping seasons (73%), when compared with the fall (33%). This type of information on exposure to infectious agents is important for developing control programs to manage raccoon-domestic animals interactions.