<i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> seroprevalence varies by cat breed
by Kärt Must, Marjo K. Hytönen, Toomas Orro, Hannes Lohi, Pikka JokelainenToxoplasma gondii is a widespread zoonotic parasite that is relevant for veterinary and public health. The domestic cat, the definitive host species with the largest worldwide population, has become evolutionarily and epidemiologically the most important host of T. gondii. The outcome of T. gondii infection is influenced by congenital and acquired host characteristics. We detected differences in T. gondii seroprevalence by cat breed in our previous studies. The aims of this study were to estimate T. gondii seroprevalence in selected domestic cat breeds, and to evaluate whether being of a certain breed is associated with T. gondii seropositivity, when the age and lifestyle of the cat are taken into account. The studied breeds were the Birman, British Shorthair, Burmese, Korat, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ocicat, Persian, and Siamese. Plasma samples were analyzed for the presence of immunoglobulin G antibodies against T. gondii with a commercial direct agglutination test at dilution 1:40. The samples were accompanied by owner-completed questionnaires that provided background data on the cats. Overall, 41.12% of the 1121 cats tested seropositive, and the seroprevalence increased with age. The Burmese had the lowest seroprevalence (18.82%) and the Persian had the highest (60.00%). According to the final multivariable logistic regression model, the odds to test seropositive were four to seven times higher in Birmans, Ocicats, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Persians when compared with the Burmese, while older age and receiving raw meat were also risk factors for T. gondii seropositivity. This study showed that T. gondii seroprevalence varies by cat breed and identified being of certain breeds, older age, and receiving raw meat as risk factors for seropositivity.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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