Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in wild and domestic animals in northern California

  • Franti C
  • Riemann H
  • Behymer D
 et al. 
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Wild and domestic animals from 3 geographic-climatologic areas in northern California were tested for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii. A total of 2,796 serum samples representing 37 species of wild mammals, 35 species of wild birds, and 5 species of domestic animals were tested by the indirect hemagglutination test. Of 1,174 wild mammal serums tested, 10.8% were positive, which compared with 14.7% of the 1,221 domestic mammal serums. Of 229 wild carnivores tested, 45% were seropositive, including 69% of 86 bobcats, 28% of 58 coyotes, 48% of 25 raccoons, 27% of 26 gray foxes, 22% of 32 striped skunks, a civet cat, and a mink. Serologic evidence of infection was found in 38% of 47 rural domestic cats, but none of the 7 dogs tested was seropositive. Of 160 murid rodents (rats and house mice) in rural habitats, 4% were seropositive, which compared with 2% of 399 cricetine rodents (mostly deer mice) collected from wilderness habitats. Seven percent of 56 wild Artiodactyla (deer and feral pigs) were seropositive, which compared with 15% of 1,048 domestic sheep tested. Of 401 birds tested, 3.5% had antibodies against T gondii. The highest prevalence of antibodies among birds was in crows (14%). Toxoplasma was isolated from 1 raven, by mouse inoculation. In general, the highest prevalence of seropositive carnivores, rodents, and sheep was in the coastal region below 100 ft elevation, where the weather is cool and damp for much of the year. In the central valley the highest prevalence among sheep was in areas under irrigation. The prevalence of antibodies was lowest in the mountain areas, where climatologic extremes prevail at various seasons of the year.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic/immunology
  • Antibodies/*analysis
  • Birds/immunology
  • California
  • Carnivora/immunology
  • Cattle/immunology
  • Mice/immunology
  • Raccoons/immunology
  • Rats/immunology
  • Sciuridae/immunology
  • Sheep/immunology
  • Toxoplasma/*immunology

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  • C E Franti

  • H P Riemann

  • D E Behymer

  • D Suther

  • J A Howarth

  • R Ruppanner

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