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      Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats in Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand

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          Abstract

          Background and Aim:

          Toxoplasmosis is a zoonosis caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Cats are known to be the definitive hosts that can excrete these environmentally resistant oocysts. Other mammals, avians, and even humans can serve as the intermediate host. T. gondii infection is often asymptomatic in healthy individuals; however, it could result in serious health problems in immunocompromised and pregnant individuals. This study investigated the occurrence of T. gondii infection in cats in Khao Suan Kwang and Mueang Khon Kaen.

          Materials and Methods:

          In total, 100 serum samples from cats, that is, 62 owned cats (31 males and 31 females) and 38 adopted stray cats (21 males and 17 females), were examined for antibodies against T. gondii through rapid immunochromatographic tests (ICT). Owners were asked to sign a consent form and answer the questionnaires before sample collection. Demographic information about the cats and their owners was also recorded.

          Results:

          The overall seroprevalence of cats positive for T. gondii antibodies was found to be 5%. Notably, the Toxoplasma antibody prevalence was significantly higher in the adopted stray cats (10.53% [4/38]) that roamed the zoo than in the owned cats (1.61% [1/62]) (p > 0.05). No significant difference was observed between male (8.33%) and female (1.92%) cats. The cat owners’ questionnaire revealed that more than half had never heard of toxoplasmosis before (67.7%), whereas 30.6% knew nothing about the disease transmission routes.

          Conclusion:

          This study presented a low seroprevalence of antibodies to T. gondii in owned cats from the Mueang Khon Kaen District, whereas high seroprevalence was detected in the adopted stray cats from Khao Suan Kwang. Adopted stray cats can have a higher potential for T. gondii infection; thus, they could be a source of toxoplasmosis transmission to humans. Therefore, it is essential to control the number of stray cats, and a screening test for antitoxoplasmosis could be recommended before adoption. Although the total seroprevalence was noted to be low, the zoonotic disease was present. Therefore, raising the community’s awareness and knowledge might reduce the disease transmission from animals to humans.

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          Most cited references34

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          Toxoplasma gondii infection and toxoplasmosis in farm animals: Risk factors and economic impact

          The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Felids, including domestic cats, are definitive hosts that can shed oocysts with their feces. In addition to infections that occur by accidental oral uptake of food or water contaminated with oocysts, it is assumed that a large proportion of affected humans may have become infected by consuming meat or other animal products that contained infective parasitic stages of T. gondii. Since farm animals represent a direct source of infection for humans, but also a possible reservoir for the parasite, it is important to control T. gondii infections in livestock. Moreover, T. gondii may also be pathogenic to livestock where it could be responsible for considerable economic losses in some regions and particular farming systems, e.g. in areas where the small ruminant industry is relevant. This review aims to summarize actual knowledge on the prevalence and effects of infections with T. gondii in the most important livestock species and on the effects of toxoplasmosis on livestock. It also provides an overview on potential risk factors favoring infections of livestock with T. gondii. Knowledge on potential risk factors is prerequisite to implement effective biosecurity measures on farms to prevent T. gondii infections. Risk factors identified by many studies are cat-related, but also those associated with a potential contamination of fodder or water, and with access to a potentially contaminated environment. Published information on the costs T. gondii infections cause in livestock production, is scarce. The most recent peer reviewed reports from Great Britain and Uruguay suggest annual cost of about 5–15 million US $ per country. Since these estimates are outdated, future studies are needed to estimate the present costs due to toxoplasmosis in livestock. Further, the fact that T. gondii infections in livestock may affect human health needs to be considered and the respective costs should also be estimated, but this is beyond the scope of this article.
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            Environmental transmission of Toxoplasma gondii : Oocysts in water, soil and food

            Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic protozoan parasite that can cause morbidity and mortality in humans, domestic animals, and terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. The environmentally robust oocyst stage of T. gondii is fundamentally critical to the parasite's success, both in terms of its worldwide distribution as well as the extensive range of infected intermediate hosts. Despite the limited definitive host species (domestic and wild felids), infections have been reported on every continent, and in terrestrial as well as aquatic environments. The remarkable resistance of the oocyst wall enables dissemination of T. gondii through watersheds and ecosystems, and long-term persistence in diverse foods such as shellfish and fresh produce. Here, we review the key attributes of oocyst biophysical properties that confer their ability to disseminate and survive in the environment, as well as the epidemiological dynamics of oocyst sources including domestic and wild felids. This manuscript further provides a comprehensive review of the pathways by which T. gondii oocysts can infect animals and people through the environment, including in contaminated foods, water or soil. We conclude by identifying critical control points for reducing risk of exposure to oocysts as well as opportunities for future synergies and new directions for research aimed at reducing the burden of oocyst-borne toxoplasmosis in humans, domestic animals, and wildlife.
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              Transcriptomic Analysis of Toxoplasma Development Reveals Many Novel Functions and Structures Specific to Sporozoites and Oocysts

              Sexual reproduction of Toxoplasma gondii occurs exclusively within enterocytes of the definitive felid host. The resulting immature oocysts are excreted into the environment during defecation, where in the days following, they undergo a complex developmental process. Within each oocyst, this culminates in the generation of two sporocysts, each containing 4 sporozoites. A single felid host is capable of shedding millions of oocysts, which can survive for years in the environment, are resistant to most methods of microbial inactivation during water-treatment and are capable of producing infection in warm-blooded hosts at doses as low as 1–10 ingested oocysts. Despite its extremely interesting developmental biology and crucial role in initiating an infection, almost nothing is known about the oocyst stage beyond morphological descriptions. Here, we present a complete transcriptomic analysis of the oocyst from beginning to end of its development. In addition, and to identify genes whose expression is unique to this developmental form, we compared the transcriptomes of developing oocysts with those of in vitro-derived tachyzoites and in vivo-derived bradyzoites. Our results reveal many genes whose expression is specifically up- or down-regulated in different developmental stages, including many genes that are likely critical to oocyst development, wall formation, resistance to environmental destruction and sporozoite infectivity. Of special note is the up-regulation of genes that appear “off” in tachyzoites and bradyzoites but that encode homologues of proteins known to serve key functions in those asexual stages, including a novel pairing of sporozoite-specific paralogues of AMA1 and RON2, two proteins that have recently been shown to form a crucial bridge during tachyzoite invasion of host cells. This work provides the first in-depth insight into the development and functioning of one of the most important but least studied stages in the Toxoplasma life cycle.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Vet World
                Vet World
                Veterinary World
                Veterinary World (India )
                0972-8988
                2231-0916
                July 2022
                25 July 2022
                : 15
                : 7
                : 1779-1784
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
                [2 ]Division of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University 40002, Thailand
                [3 ]Division of Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University 40002, Thailand
                [4 ]Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
                [5 ]Division of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University 40002, Thailand
                Author notes
                Article
                Vetworld-15-1779
                10.14202/vetworld.2022.1779-1784
                9394132
                c44180bd-889d-4ca7-b5a2-6388f95f9060
                Copyright: © Lakhamsen, et al.

                Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                History
                : 28 February 2022
                : 07 June 2022
                Categories
                Research Article

                adopted stray cat,feline,khon kaen,toxoplasmosis,zoonoses
                adopted stray cat, feline, khon kaen, toxoplasmosis, zoonoses

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