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A survey of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies by latex agglutination assay in dairy goats in Northern Tanzania

Swai, Emmanuel Senyael, Kaaya, Jackson Eliona
Tropical animal health and production 2012 v.45 no.1 pp. 211-217
Saanen, Toggenburg, Toxoplasma gondii, agglutination, antibodies, cross-sectional studies, dairy goats, disease transmission, females, flocks, food safety, foodborne illness, goat meat, human diseases, latex, latex agglutination test, males, questionnaires, risk, risk factors, seroprevalence, surveys, toxoplasmosis, Tanzania
Food-borne parasitic diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, are increasingly becoming a global food safety concern. A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate seroprevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity in apparently healthy, unvaccinated dairy goat flocks reared under mixed smallholders, northern Tanzania between April and October 2011. Flock- and animal-level data were collected using a questionnaire. Sera (n = 337) collected from goats aged ≥6 months and from 102 flocks, respectively, were analyzed using modified Eiken latex agglutination test. A flock was classified as T. gondii seropositive if at least one animal tested positive. Titers considered diagnostically significant (≥1:16) were detected in 19.3 % of goats and 45.17 % of flocks, respectively. The antibody levels ranged from 1:16 to 1:2,048 and among the seropositive goats, the proportion of high antibody levels (≥1:2,048), suggestive of acute infection, was 1.5 %. The study revealed that goats raised in Babati are at a lower risk of acquiring T. gondii infection (P = 0.00209) than those which are raised in Arumeru district. The prevalence of T. gondii antibody was significantly higher in crossbred (24.7 %) and Saanen (24.4 %) breed goats than in local (14.3 %) and Toggenburg (12.1 %) and in females than in males (P = 0.043). No significant difference was observed among goats kept under various husbandry practices. The relatively high seroprevalence detected in this study suggests that toxoplasmosis may be posing a significant animal and human health risk and that the consumption of goat meat may play a role in the transmission of the disease to humans.