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Regional seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in feral and stray cats (Felis catus) from Tasmania


Fancourt, BA and Jackson, RB, Regional seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in feral and stray cats (Felis catus) from Tasmania, Australian Journal of Zoology, 62, (4) pp. 272-283. ISSN 0004-959X (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/ZO14015


Toxoplasma gondii is a cosmopolitan protozoan parasite of felids that also has significant implications for the health of wildlife, livestock and humans worldwide. In Australia, feral, stray and domestic cats (Felis catus) are the most important definitive host of T. gondii as they are the only species that can excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts that provide a major source of infection for mammals and birds. In Tasmania, the rapid decline of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) may allow an increase in feral cat abundance, thereby increasing the risk of T. gondii infection to a range of susceptible wildlife species. At present, there is scant information on the prevalence of T. gondii infection in feral cat populations across Tasmania. We tested feral cats from 13 regions across Tasmania for the presence of T. gondii-specific IgG antibodies using a modified agglutination test. Results were combined with serosurveys from three previous studies to enable a comparison of seroprevalence among 14 regions across Tasmania. We found that 84.2% (224 of 266) of cats tested positive for T. gondii IgG antibodies. This is among the highest rates of prevalence recorded from Australia, and significantly higher than for most other countries. Adult cats had higher seroprevalence than kittens but there was no difference between sexes. In Tasmania, seroprevalence was high in 12 of 14 regions (range: 79.3-100.0%), with only two regions (Tasman Island and Southern Tasmania) recording significantly lower seroprevalence (<=50%). This suggests a high risk of infection across Tasmania, and has significant implications for wildlife conservation should feral cat abundance increase with the ongoing declines in Tasmanian devils.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:definitive host; disease; parasite; spatial variation;toxoplasmosis; zoonosis
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Fancourt, BA (Miss Bronwyn Fancourt)
ID Code:95962
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2014-10-13
Last Modified:2022-09-01

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