Research Communication

Serological survey of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and Coxiella burnetii in rodents in north-western African islands (Canary Islands and Cape Verde)

Pilar Foronda, Josué Plata-Luis, Borja del Castillo-Figueruelo, Ángela Fernández-Álvarez, Aarón Martín-Alonso, Carlos Feliu, Marilena D. Cabral, Basilio Valladares
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 82, No 1 | a899 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v82i1.899 | © 2015 Pilar Foronda, Josué Plata-Luis, Borja del Castillo-Figueruelo, Ángela Fernández-Álvarez, Aarón Martín-Alonso, Carlos Feliu, Marilena D. Cabral, Basilio Valladares | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 2014 | Published: 29 May 2015

About the author(s)

Pilar Foronda, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain
Josué Plata-Luis, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain
Borja del Castillo-Figueruelo, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain
Ángela Fernández-Álvarez, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain
Aarón Martín-Alonso, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain
Carlos Feliu, Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Barcelona, Spain
Marilena D. Cabral, Department of Science and Technology, University of Cape Verde, Cape Verde
Basilio Valladares, University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Spain


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Abstract

Coxiella burnetii and Toxoplasma gondii are intracellular parasites that cause important reproductive disorders in animals and humans worldwide, resulting in high economic losses. The aim of the present study was to analyse the possible role of peridomestic small mammals in the maintenance and transmission of C. burnetii and T. gondii in the north-western African archipelagos of the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, where these species are commonly found affecting humans and farm animals. Between 2009 and 2013, 108 black rats (Rattus rattus) and 77 mice (Mus musculus) were analysed for the presence of Coxiella and Toxoplasma antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence (IFA), respectively. Our results showed a wide distribution of C. burnetii and T. gondii, except for T. gondii in Cape Verde, in both rodent species. The overall seroprevalence of C. burnetii antibodies was 12.4%; 21.1% for Cape Verde and 10.2% for the Canary Islands. With respect to T. gondii, seropositive rodents were only observed in the Canary Islands, with an overall seroprevalence of 15%. Considering the fact that both pathogens can infect a large range of hosts, including livestock and humans, the results are of public health and veterinary importance and could be used by governmental entities to manage risk factors and to prevent future cases of Q fever and toxoplasmosis.

Keywords

Coxiella burneti; Toxoplasma gondii; Q fever; toxoplasmosis; rodents; Rattus rattus; Mus musculus; Canary Islands; Cape Verde.

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