Frequency of Toxoplasma gondii infection in sheep from a tropical zone of Mexico and temporal analysis of the humoral response changes.

Research paper by H H Caballero-Ortega, H H Quiroz-Romero, S S Olazarán-Jenkins, D D Correa

Indexed on: 14 May '08Published on: 14 May '08Published in: Parasitology


An indirect ELISA and an immunoblot were standardized to detect anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in sheep, and were compared with a commercial ELISA as reference. Sensitivity was 92.0 and 96.0%, and specificity 88.0 and 75.0%, respectively. Then the serum samples of 103 sheep on a ranch located in the Eastern region of Mexico were analysed. A frequency ranging from 77 to 84% was observed, with a heterogeneous pattern among the animals by immunoblotting. Ten months later 56 sheep were sampled and tested again. Six animals became negative while 1 case was negative the first time and strongly positive 10 months later. Considering this to be a new case we calculated an incidence rate of 2.1% (CI 95% 0.6-4.8%). IgG avidity ELISA was performed on 36 positive samples, 33 being of high-avidity at both times; slight increases in 2 samples and conservation of low-avidity in 1 sheep were also observed. Higher prevalence rates of toxoplasmosis in a moist warm compared to a cold atmosphere was attributed to the long viability of T. gondii oocysts. This may explain the high frequency of T. gondii in this region, which apparently has favourable climatic conditions for the transmission of this protozoan, besides the presence of both domestic and wild cats.