Article

A high seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in a population of feral cats in the Western Cape province of South Africa

Published in: Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 30, issue 4, 2015 , pages: 141–144
DOI: 10.1080/23120053.2015.1107295
Author(s): Kenneth Hammond-AryeeDST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Tuberculosis Research/SAMRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, South Africa, Monika EsserImmunology Unit, NHLS Tygerberg, Division Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa, Lesley van HeldenVeterinary Services: Animal Health, Western Cape Government Agriculture, South Africa, Paul van HeldenDST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Tuberculosis Research/SAMRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, South Africa

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan pathogen that causes toxoplasmosis; and, is of global importance. T. gondii is highly pathogenic to both humans and animals due to its ability to infect almost all mammals and birds. Felids are the only known definitive host of T. gondii. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies in the serum of a sample of feral cats (Felis catus), which were trapped in population control programs in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Overall, 159 feral cats were included in this study. There were 95 (59.8%) females and 64 (40.3%) males. One hundred and twenty-one (76.1%) of the cats were adults (>12 months old) and 38 (23.9%) were juvenile (≤ 12 months old). The sera were tested by an Indirect Immunofluorescence test. IgG and IgM antibodies were detected in 59 (37.1%, 95% CI: 0.2960-0.4462) and 14 (8.8%, 95% CI: 0.0440-0.1321) cats, respectively. Both IgG and IgM antibodies were detected in 10 cats (6.3%). Correlation between serum IgG, serum IgM, sex and age of cats were investigated. This is the first report on surveillance of feral cats for T. gondii in South Africa.

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