The sero-prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in British marine mammals

Conservation Ecology Research Team, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, School of Environment and Society, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK.
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (Impact Factor: 1.59). 04/2009; 104(2):296-8. DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02762009000200024
Source: PubMed


Serum samples from 101 stranded or bycatch cetaceans from British waters were screened for Toxoplasma gondii-specific antibodies using the Sabin Feldman Dye Test. Relatively high seropositivity was recorded in short-beaked Delphinus delphis and this study presents the first documented case of Toxoplasma in a humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae.

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    • "Of the 30 identified marine mammal species in the Philippines, 28 are cetaceans and 22 of these are reported to strand (Aragones et al., 2010), providing the much needed chance to study these difficult-to-observe albeit charismatic animals. While it is not the primary aim of the study to investigate the role of pathogen or disease occurrence in sampled stranding events, the involvement of such may be suggested as done elsewhere (Lopez et al., 2002; Kreuder et al., 2003; Gonzalez-Solis et al., 2006; Stoddard et al., 2008; Fauquier et al., 2009; Forman et al., 2009; Colegrove et al., 2010). This study generally aimed to detect the occurrence of bacteria, Giardia, and Toxoplasma gondii in cetaceans stranded in the Philippines. "
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    ABSTRACT: The general consensus of a rapidly changing ocean ecosystem being affected by anthropogenic activities needs to be understood in relation to both wildlife and human health. The risks and challenges for the Philippines include lack of scientific information on waterborne diseases that are potentially zoo-notic. The present study fills in this knowledge gap by detecting the occurrence of bacteria, Giardia, and Toxoplasma gondii in locally found cetacean species. Cetaceans (n = 30) that stranded from January 2012 through March 2013 were appropriately responded to, and biological materials were taken whenever applicable. A total of 25 bacteria were isolated from nine stranders. Phenotypic and genotypic methods of isolate identification yielded 12 consensus genera:. No screened strander was positive for Giardia. Serological assay detected antibodies for T. gondii in five stranders, while nested polymerase chain reaction positively amplified the B1 gene of the parasite in two stranders. This study provides the first report on bacteria and T. gondii in cetaceans found in the Philippines. Since the detected microorganisms include species recognized to cause new infections in marine mammals worldwide, the findings of the study underscore the potential of stranded cetaceans to serve as sentinels for studying the movement of emerging pathogens in marine habitats, provide clues on the health status of their free-ranging populations, and present the health risks available to humans who share the same water resource with them.
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    • "Although traditionally considered a parasite of terrestrial habitats, recent reports have identified T. gondii in a range of marine (e.g. [4,5]) and freshwater species (e.g. [6,7]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Toxoplasma gondii is found on all continents and can infect all endothermic vertebrates. Toxoplasmosis is a globally important zoonosis with potentially devastating health impacts both for humans and a range of domestic and wild species. The World Health Organisation have repeatedly recommended the collection of accurate epidemiological data for T. gondii, yet despite recognised links between infection of wildlife, domestic animals and humans, seroprevalence in wild species is rarely monitored. Here, serological investigation using the Gold Standard Sabin-Feldman Dye Test was used to test for T. gondii in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) found dead, mainly as road-kill, in England and Wales. This is the first spatially widespread study of T. gondii in UK wildlife, and the first extensive survey of T. gondii in Eurasian otters, a sentinel species of fresh waters. Findings Infection was both common (39.5% prevalence, n = 271) and widespread, with significantly more infection in the east than the west of the UK. There was an increase in seroprevalence with age, but no sex bias. Conclusions The relatively high prevalence of T. gondii in a predominantly piscivorous freshwater mammal suggests widespread faecal contamination of freshwater ecosystems with oocysts. Continued surveillance of the Eurasian otter for T. gondii is valuable because of conservation concerns due to the otter’s ‘near threatened’ status on the IUCN Red List and because of the host’s role as a sentinel for freshwater health.
    Parasites & Vectors 03/2013; 6(1):75. DOI:10.1186/1756-3305-6-75 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    • "During the dramatic morbilliviral epidemic in the Mediterranean Sea from 1990 to 1992, coinfection with T. gondii, an opportunistic pathogen for cetaceans, was reported in striped dolphins [14]. In Mysticetes, the only previous report of infection is limited to seropositivity against T. gondii in a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) from the Atlantic Ocean [15]. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first DMV and T. gondii coinfection described in a baleen whale. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii have emerged as important pathogens for several cetaceans populations over the last 20 years, they have never been identified together in a Mysticete. In particular, morbilliviral infection has been never described in the Mediterranean fin whale population. On January 2011 an adult male of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) stranded along the Tyrrhenian coastline of Italy. During necropsy, tissue samples from heart, skeletal muscle, mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney were collected and subsequently analyzed for Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii by microscopic and molecular methods. Following the detailed necropsy carried out on this whale, molecular analysis revealed, for the first time, the simultaneous presence of a Dolphin Morbillivirus (DMV) and T. gondii infection coexisting with each other, along with high organochlorine pollutant concentrations, with special reference to DDT. This report, besides confirming the possibility for Mysticetes to be infected with DMV, highlights the risk of toxoplasmosis in sea water for mammals, already immunodepressed by concurrent factors as infections and environmental contaminants.
    BMC Veterinary Research 03/2012; 8(1):20. DOI:10.1186/1746-6148-8-20 · 1.78 Impact Factor
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