A field trial of the effectiveness of a feline Toxoplasma gondii vaccine in reducing T. gondii exposure for swine

Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla, J. P. Dubey, Leszek Choromanski, Ronald M. Weigel

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A 3-yr field trial was conducted on 8 commercial swine farms in Illinois to determine the effectiveness of a feline Toxoplasma gondii vaccine in reducing the exposure of swine to T. gondii. A vaccine consisting of live bradyzoites of the mutant T-263 strain, capable of preventing oocyst shedding by cats, was used in this study. Each farm was visited 3 times in 1994, 3 times in 1995, and once in 1996. Cats were trapped and inoculated with the T- 263 oral vaccine during 1994 and 1995. On each visit, the following samples were collected: blood from pigs, cats, and mice for detection of serum antibodies to T. gondii, feces from cats to detect oocysts, and heart and brain tissues from rodents to determine the presence of T. gondii tissue cysts. The modified agglutination test (MAT), with a positive tiler set at the 1:25 dilution, was used to determine serum antibodies. At first capture, 72.6% (61/84) of juvenile cats and 32.6% (31/95) of adult cats had no detectable antibodies (seronegative), indicating no prior exposure to T. gondii when they received their first vaccine. Of these first-time seronegative cats, 58.1% (18/31) of adult and 45.9% (28/61) of juvenile cats were recaptured and received a second dose of vaccine. Changes in the prevalence of T. gondii infection were evaluated from the prevaccination (1992, 1993) to the postvaccination (1996) period. Eleven cats (5%) were detected shedding oocysts between 1994 and 1996, of which 10 (90.1%) shed during 1994. The last detection of oocyst shedding by cats was during the first farm visit in 1995. There was a significant decrease in T. gondii seroprevalence for finishing pigs (P < 0.05, Wilcoxon sign rank test). There was a positive correlation (Spearman's ρ = 1.0, P < 0.0001) between the change in prevalence in juvenile cats and the change in prevalence in finishing pigs. The seropositivity rate (MAT ≥ 1:25) in mice among all farms decreased from 4% in 1992-1993 to 0% in 1996. The mean prevalence of T. gondii tissue cyst isolation for mice on all farms decreased from 1.1% in 1994, to 0.8% in 1995, and to 0.5% in 1996. The results of this study suggest that the reduced exposure of pigs to T. gondii was due to the administration of the T. gondii vaccine to cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-860
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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