Prevalence of antibody to Toxoplasma gondii in terrestrial wildlife in a natural area

Shannon L. Fredebaugh, Nohra E Mateus-Pinilla, Milton McAllister, Richard E. Warner, Hsin Yi Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We conducted a cross-sectional study from 2008 to 2009 to evaluate the occurrence of feral and wild cats and the risk of Toxoplasma gondii infection in terrestrial wildlife in a natural area in Illinois, USA. Felids are definitive hosts for T. gondii and cats are a key component of rural and urban transmission of T. gondii. We selected four forest sites within the interior of the park and four edge sites within 300 m of human buildings. Feline and wildlife occurrence in the natural area was determined with the use of scent stations, motion-detection cameras, and overnight live trapping. Based on scent stations and trapping, feral cats used building sites more than forest sites (scent stations: P50.010; trapping: P50.083). Prevalence of T. gondii antibodies was determined with the use of the indirect immune ofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) with a titer of 1:25 considered positive; T. gondii antibodies were detected in wildlife at all sites. Wildlife species were classified as having a large home range (LHR) or a small home range (SHR), based on published estimates and using a cutoff of 100 ha. Small-home-range mammals had a higher prevalence of antibody to T. gondii (odds ratio [OR]=54.2; P50.018) at sites with a high frequency of cat occurrence (defined as ≥9 cat occurrences across three detection methods); this finding indicates that feral cats are the most likely source of environmental contamination. Overall, the prevalence of antibody to T. gondii among LHR mammals was significantly higher than the prevalence among SHR mammals (OR=57.1; P<0.001). Small-home-range mammals are an essential part of T. gondii-antibody prevalence studies and can be used as sentinels for risk of disease exposure to humans and wildlife in natural areas. This study improves our understanding of ecologic drivers behind the occurrence of spatial variation of T. gondii within a natural area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-392
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Fingerprint

Toxoplasma gondii
home range
seroprevalence
antibody
wildlife
cats
mammal
trapping
mammals
odors
definitive host
felid
odds ratio
antibodies
detection method
natural area
spatial variation
Felidae
cross-sectional studies
cameras

Keywords

  • Feral cat
  • Illinois
  • Natural area
  • Opossum
  • Raccoon
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Whitefooted mice
  • Wildlife

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Prevalence of antibody to Toxoplasma gondii in terrestrial wildlife in a natural area. / Fredebaugh, Shannon L.; Mateus-Pinilla, Nohra E; McAllister, Milton; Warner, Richard E.; Weng, Hsin Yi.

In: Journal of wildlife diseases, Vol. 47, No. 2, 01.01.2011, p. 381-392.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fredebaugh, Shannon L. ; Mateus-Pinilla, Nohra E ; McAllister, Milton ; Warner, Richard E. ; Weng, Hsin Yi. / Prevalence of antibody to Toxoplasma gondii in terrestrial wildlife in a natural area. In: Journal of wildlife diseases. 2011 ; Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 381-392.
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