Italian National Reference Center for Toxoplasmosis

Foiano della Chiana, Italy

Italian National Reference Center for Toxoplasmosis

Foiano della Chiana, Italy
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Zewdu E.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Agonafir A.,Jijiga University | Tessema T.S.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Tilahun G.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | And 7 more authors.
Research in Veterinary Science | Year: 2013

Toxoplasmosis is a global zoonosis caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an intracellular apicomplexan parasite. The objectives of this study were to estimate the animal and flock level seroprevalence and risk factors associated with toxoplasmosis in goats of Central Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, goats are economically important animals used for meat and milk production. The study was cross-sectional and 927 blood samples from 187 goat flocks were collected to examine T. gondii specific IgG antibodies by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A questionnaire was used to collect data on the potential risk factors. The study revealed flock and animal level seroprevalence of 58.3% (109/187; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 51.16, 65.42) and 19.7% (183/927; 95% CI: 17.17, 22.31), respectively. The likelihood of acquiring T. gondii infection was higher in semi-intensively managed goats (Odds ratio [OR] = 2.48, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14, 5.37; P= 0.022) than in extensively managed goats, in females than in males (OR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.16, 2.92; P= 0.010), in adults than in young animals (OR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.21, 3.28; P= 0.006), in small than in large flocks (OR = 2.03, 95% CI: 1.03, 3.98; P= 0.040), in goats kept under sedentary (OR = 2.81, 95% CI: 1.41, 5.59; P= 0.003) and agropastoral farming system (OR = 3.62, 95% CI: 1.83, 7.18; P<0.001) than pastoral farming system and in goats allowed to drink water from the tap than those drinking from river and stagnant water bodies (OR = 9.25, 95% CI: 3.04, 28.15; P< 0.001). Our study indicates that exposure of goats to oocysts of T. gondii is widespread. We recommend further studies to determine the genotype of the parasite, public health and economic impacts of toxoplasmosis and the role of raw goat meat and milk as a source of infection for consumers. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Gebremedhin E.Z.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Tesfamaryam G.,Jigjiga University | Yunus H.A.,Mizan Tepi University | Duguma R.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | And 3 more authors.
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2015

We performed a seroepidemiological study of Toxoplasma gondii infection in free-range chickens from October 2012 to May 2013. We used cross-sectional two-stage cluster sampling to collect blood samples from wing veins of 601 chickens from central Ethiopia. T. gondii-specific antibodies were assayed by modified agglutination test (MAT). We collected information about risk factors by questionnaire and used univariable and multivariable logistic regression to assess risk factors. An overall seroprevalence of 30.5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 26.27-34.14] and 54.2% (95% CI 47.06-61.36) was found at animal-and flock-level, respectively. The MAT end titre of seropositive chickens (n= 183) were 1 : 60 in 46, 1 :180 in 28, 1 :540 in 29, ≥1 : 1620 in 48, 1 : 6000 in 22, 1 : 18000 in five, 1 : 54 000 in one, and 1 :162000 in four. Animal-level risk factors identified using multivariable logistic regression model were: midland altitude [odds ratio (OR) 2.53, 95% CI 1.12-5.72], cross and exotic breeds (OR 3.17, 95% CI 1.39-7.23), increased age of chickens (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.19-4.49), extensive management (OR 6.92, 95% CI 1.34-35.86) and the presence of cats (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.20-3.61). Similarly, flock-level risk factors were midland altitude (OR 3.62, 95% CI 1.31-9.99) and the presence of cats (OR 1.19-4.94). The knowledge of the local people about the health risk of cats to humans and animals is poor. Housing and management of cats and chickens are also poor. The widespread presence of T. gondii infection in free-range chickens of Central Ethiopia provides suggestive evidence for the high level of contamination of the living environment of people with T. gondii oocysts. Meat from free-range chickens might be an important source of infection for humans. Altitude, breed, age, management and presence of cats are independent predictors of seropositivity. Education of farmers about toxoplasmosis and further studies to elucidate the burden of toxoplasmosis in animals and humans warrants consideration. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.


Gebremedhin E.Z.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Agonafir A.,Jijiga University | Tessema T.S.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Tilahun G.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | And 7 more authors.
BMC Veterinary Research | Year: 2013

Background: Toxoplasmosis is a globally distributed zoonosis. Consumption of raw or undercooked meat, which is among the main risk factors for acquiring human infection, is a popular tradition in Ethiopia. However, studies on toxoplasmosis in food animals used for human consumption in Ethiopia are very scarce. Thus, the objectives of the present study were to estimate the seroprevalence and the risk factors of T. gondii infection in sheep in Ambo, Ada'a-Liben and Fentale districts of Central Ethiopia. Sera from 1130 sheep were analyzed for Toxoplasma gondii specific IgG antibodies using an indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with the P30 antigen. A questionnaire was administered to assess potential risk factors for T. gondii seropositivity. Association of seroprevalence with potential risk factors related to altitude, host and farm characteristics were analyzed by univariable and multivariable logistic regression.Results: Overall flock and animal level seroprevalences were 70.48% (160/227; 95% CI: 64.51, 76.46) and 31.59% (357/1130; 95% CI: 28.88, 34.31), respectively. The multivariable logistic regression model indicated that the probability of acquiring T. gondii was higher in sheep from highland (2300 - 3200 meters above sea level) [Odds ratio (OR) = 4.11, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.65, 6.36; P < 0.001] and midland (OR = 4.54, 95% CI: 2.76, 7.49; P < 0.001) than from lowland (<1500 meters above sea level), in females than in males (OR = 1.60, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.43, P = 0.033), in adult than in young animals (OR = 2.93, 95% CI: 1.97, 4.35, P < 0.001), in small than in large flocks (OR = 3.34, 95% CI: 1.26, 8.86, P = 0.016), and in sheep that were given tap water (OR = 4.07, 95% CI: 1.07, 15.42, P = 0.039) and river water (OR = 4.18, 95% CI: 1.54, 11.35, P = 0.005) than in those that drunk water from mixed sources (i.e., river, well, lake and pond).Conclusions: The high flock and animal level seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in sheep is a good marker of the potential risk for human infections. Altitude, sex, age, flock size and source of water were identified as important risk factors to acquire the infection. Public education and awareness training are imperative in order to alleviate the danger posed to consumers. Further detailed studies to assess the impact of infections are warranted. © 2013 Gebremedhin et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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