Sources and reservoirs of Toxoplasma gondii infection on 47 swine farms in Illinois

J. P. Dubey, R. M. Weigel, A. M. Siegel, P. Thulliez, U. D. Kitron, M. A. Mitchell, A. Mannelli, N. E. Mateus-Pinilla, S. K. Shen, O. C.H. Kwok, K. S. Todd

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Field studies were conducted on 47 swine farms in Illinois during 1992 and 1993 to identify sources and reservoirs of Toxoplasma gondi infection. Blood samples were obtained from swine and from trapped wildlife. Serum antibodies to T. gondii were determined using the modified agglutination test, incorporating mercaptoethanol. Antibodies to T. gondii (titer ≥ 25) were found in 97 of 4,252 (2.3%) finishing pigs, 395 of 2,617 (15.1%) sows, 267 of 391 (68.3%)cats, 126 of 188 (67.0%) raccoons, 7 of 18 (38.9%) skunks, 29 of 128 opossums (22.7%), 6 of 95 (6.3%) rats, 3 of 61 (4.9%) white-footed mice (Peromyscus sp.), and 26 of 1,243 (2.1%) house mice (Mus musculus). Brains and hearts of rodents trapped on the farm were bioassayed in mice for the presence of T. gondii. Toxoplasma gondii was recovered from tissues of 7 of 1,502 (0.5%) house mice, 2 of 67 (3.0%) white-footed mice, and 1 of 107 (0.9%) rats. Feces of 274 cats trapped on the farms and samples of feed, water, and soil were bioassayed in mice for the presence of T. gondii oocysts. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from 2 of 491 (0.4%) feed samples, 1 of 79 (1.3%) soil samples, and 5 of 274 (1.8%) samples of cat feces. All mammalian species examined were reservoirs of T. gondii infection. All farms had evidence of T. gondii infection either by detection of antibodies in swine or other mammalian species, or by detection of oocysts, or by recovery from rodents by bioassay. The possibility of transmission of T. gondii to swine via consumption of rodents, feed, and soil was confirmed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-729
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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