Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats in southwestern Poland
More details
Hide details
National Veterinary Research Institute, Puławy, Poland
Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2018;25(3):576–580
An assessment of the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats from southwestern Poland using serology, coproscopy and PCR methods.

Material and methods:
In total, 208 cats (139 females and 68 males), aged 0.5–12 years (mean=2.6) from 25 localities in southwestern Poland were examined by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFAT) to estimate the T. gondii serological status. Faecal samples of 41 cats were examined for the presence of oocysts/DNA T. gondii by microscopy and Real-time/nested PCR. After flotation (with NaNO3), pellets from faecal samples were disrupted by 10 cycles of freezing (liquid nitrogen) and warming. DNA was extracted using QIamp DNA Stool Mini Kit (Qiagen), according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

The positive results in IFAT for anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies were found in 143 of 208 tested cats (68.8%). Among positive results, 14.5%, 34.1% and 51.4% were detected in titre ranges 128–512, 1,000–2,000 and ≥ 4,000, respectively. In 23.1% of cat sera anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found. The prevalence of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies was significantly greater in older cats (>1 year) (83.5%) than in younger cats (48.3%) (P<0.05), in females (74.1%) than in males (58.8%) (P<0.05), and in cats kept outdoors than indoors (69.7% vs. 16.7%) (P<0.01). Among the 41 faecal samples examined, the presence of structures resembling T. gondii oocysts was found in 2 samples (4.9%), and for one of these samples (2.4% of the total) the result was also confirmed by PCR.

T. gondii infection in domestic cats is highly prevalent in southwestern Poland. Information on the prevalence of infection in cats can be useful for assessing T. gondii environmental contamination and the risk for public health.

Jacek Sroka   
National Veterinary Research Institute, Puławy, Partyzanów Av. 57, 24-100 Puławy, Poland
1. Dubey JP, Beattie CP. Toxoplasmosis of animals and man. 1st edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 1988.
2. Tenter AM, Heckeroth AR, Weiss LM. Toxoplasma gondii: from animals to humans. Int J Parasitol. 2000; 30: 1217–1258.
3. Dubey JP. Advances in the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. Int J Parasitol. 1998; 28: 1019–1024.
4. Bowie WR, King AS, Werker DH, Isaac-Renton JL, Bell A, Eng SB, Marion SA. Outbreak of toxoplasmosis associated with municipal drinking water. The BC Toxoplasma Investigation Team. Lancet 1997; 350: 173–177.
5. Jones JL, Muccioli C, Belfort Jr R, Holland GN, Roberts JM, Silveira C. Recently acquired Toxoplasma gondii infection, Brazil Emerg Infect Dis. 2006; 12: 582–587.
6. Cook AJC, Gilbert RE, Buffolano W, Zufferey J, Petersen E, Jenum PA et al. Sources of Toxoplasma infection in pregnant women: European multicentre case-control study. European Research Network on Congenital Toxoplasmosis. BMJ. 2000; 321: 142–147.
7. Dubey JP. Direct development of enteroepithelial stages of Toxoplasma in the intestines of cats fed cysts. Am J Vet Res. 1979; 40: 1634–1637.
8. Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis in domestic cats and other felids. In: Toxoplasmosis of Animals and Humans, 2nd ed. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group; 2010. p. 95–118.
9. Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1994; 205: 1593–1598.
10. Sroka J, Kusyk P, Bilska-Zając E, Karamon J, Dutkiewicz J, Wójcik-Fatla A, et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in goats from the south-west region of Poland and the detection of T. gondii DNA in goat milk. Folia Parasitol. 2017; 64: 023. doi: 10.14411/fp.2017.023.
11. Sroka J, Karamon J, Cencek T, Dutkiewicz J. Preliminary assessment of usefulness of cELISA test for screening pig and cattle populations for presence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2011; 18(2): 335–339.
12. National Institute of Hygiene, National Research Center of Public Health (Poland). Infections with selected infectious diseases in Poland. Annual reports: 2002–2008.
13. Lin MH, Chen TC, Kuo TT, Tseng CC, Tseng CP. Real-time PCR for quantitative detection of Toxoplasma gondii. J Clin Microbiol. 2000; 38: 4121–4125.
14. Grigg ME, Boothroyd JC. Rapid identification of virulent type I strains of the protozoan pathogen Toxoplasma gondii by PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis at the B1 gene. J Clin Microbiol. 2001; 39: 398–400.
15. Wąsiatycz G. Ekstensywność zarażenia kotów Toxoplasma gondii w Poznaniu i jego okolicy w aspekcie niebezpieczeństwa inwazji tego pierwotniaka dla człowieka. Wiad Parazytol. 1998; 44: 693–704.
16. Michalski M, Platt-Samoraj A, Mikulska-Skupień E,: Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in domestic cats in Olsztyn urban area, Poland. Wiad Parazytol. 2010; 56(3): 277–279.
17. Michalski M, Platt-Samoraj A. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats from Olsztyn city. Wiad Parazytol. 2004; 50(2): 303–305 (in Polish).
18. Sroka J, Wójcik-Fatla A, Szymańska J, Dutkiewicz J, Zając V, Zwoliński J. The occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in people and animals from rural environment of Lublin region – estimate of potential role of water as a source of infection. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2010; 17: 125–132.
19. Smielewska-Loś E, Pacoń J. Toxoplasma gondii infection of cats in epizootiological and clinical aspects. Pol J Vet Sci. 2002; 5(4): 227–30.
20. Dorny P, Speybroeck N, Verstraete S, Baeke M, de Becker A, Berkvens D, Vercruysse J. Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii, feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus in urban stray cats in Belgium. Vet Rec. 2002; 151: 626–629.
21. Svobodova V, Knotek Z, Svoboda M. Prevalence of IgG and IgM antibodies specific to Toxoplasma gondii in cats. Vet Parasitol. 1998; 80: 173–176.
22. Hornok S, Edelhofer R, Joachim A, Farkas R, Berta K, Répási A, Lakatos B. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum infection of cats in Hungary. Acta Vet Hung. 2008; 56: 81–88.
23. Papini R, Sbrana C, Rosa B, Saturni AM, Sorrentino AM, Cerretani M, Guidi G. Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infections in stray cats from Italy. Rev Med Vet. 2006; 157(4): 193–196.
24. D’amore E, Falcone E, Butani L, Tollis M. A serological survey of Feline immunodeficiency virus and Toxoplasma gondii in stray cats. Vet Res Com. 1997; 21: 355–359.
25. Macrí G, Masotti GF, Scholl F, Faini A, Villini E. Toxoplasmosi felina: sieroposività in un campione di gatti domestici e randagi. Atti Soc It Sc Vet. 1992; 46: 1413–1417.
26. Gauss CB, Almería S, Ortuno A, Garcia F, Dubey JP. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in domestic cats from Barcelona, Spain. J Parasitol. 2003; 89: 1067–1068.
27. Miró G, Montoya A, Jiménez S, Frisuelos C, Mateo M, Fuentes I. Prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and intestinal parasites in stray, farm and household cats in Spain. Vet Parasitol. 2004; 126(3): 249–55.
28. Derakhshan M & Mousavi M. Serological survey of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in cats, goats, and sheep in Kerman, Iran. Comp Clin Pathol. 2014; 23: 267–268.
29. Ladiges WC, Digiacomo RF, Yamaguchi RA. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies and oocysts in pound source cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1982; 180: 1334–1335.
30. Millán J, Cabezón O, Pabón M, Dubey JP, Almería S. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in feral cats (Felis silvestris catus) in Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. Vet Parasitol. 2009; 165: 323–326.
31. Must K, HytoÈnen MK, Orro T, Lohi H, Jokelainen P. Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence varies by cat breed. PLoS ONE, 2017; 12 (9): e0184659. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184659.
32. Meireles LR, Galisteo AJ Jr, Pompeu E, Andrade HF Jr. Toxoplasma gondii spreading in an urban area evaluated by seroprevalence in free-living cats and dogs. Trop Med Int Health. 2004; 9: 876–881.
33. Lopes AP, Cardoso L, Rodrigues M. Serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic cats from northeastern Portugal. Vet Parasitol 2008; 155: 184–189.
34. Özkan AT, Celebi B, Babür C, Lucio-Forster A, Bowman DD, Lindsay DS. Investigation of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in cats of the Ankara region of Turkey using the Sabin-Feldman dye test and an indirect fluoresce antibody test. J Parasitol. 2008; 94: 817–820.
35. Esteves F, Aguiar D, Rosado J, Costa ML, de Sousa B, Antunes F, Matos O. Toxoplasma gondii prevalence in cats from Lisbon and in pigs from centre and south of Portugal. Vet Parasitol. 2014; 200: 8–12.
36. Alvarado-Esquivel C, Liesenfeld O, Herrera-Flores RG, Ramírez-Sánchez BE, González-Herrera A, Martínez-García SA, Dubey JP. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in cats from Durango City, Mexico. J Parasitol. 2007; 93: 1214–1216.
37. Babür C, Aktaş M, Dumanlı N, Altaş MG. lnvestigation of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in cats using Sabin-Feldman dye test in Elazığ. Vet Bil Derg. 1998; 14: 55–58.
38. Hong SH, Jeong YI, Kim JY, Cho SH, Lee WJ, Lee SE. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in household cats in Korea and risk factors. Korean J Parasitol. 2013; 51: 357–361.
39. Erkılıç EE, Mor N, Babür C, Kırmızıgül AH, Beyhan YE. The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in cats from the Kars Region, Turkey. Isr J Vet Med. 2016; 71: 3.
40. Knaus BU, Fehler K. Toxoplasma gondii infections and oocyst shedding in domestic cats and the significance of this for the epidemiology and epizootiology of toxoplasmosis. Angew Parasitol. 1989; 30(2): 155–160.
41. Macrì G, Sala M, Linder AM, Pettirossi N, Scarpulla M. Comparison of indirect fluorescent antibody test and modified agglutination test for detecting Toxoplasma gondii immunoglobulin G antibodies in dog and cat. Parasitol Res. 2009; 105(1): 35.
42. Frenkel JK, Ruiz A, Chinchilla M. Soil survival of Toxoplasma oocysts in Kansas and Costa Rica. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1975; 24: 439–443.
43. Lappin MR, Thulliez P. Diagnosis of induced toxoplasmosis in neonatal cats. JAVMA. 1995; 207: 179–183.
44. Villena I, Aubert D, Gomis P, Ferté H, Inglard J-C, Denis-Bisiaux H et al. Evaluation of a strategy for Toxoplasma gondii oocyst detection in water. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004; 70: 4035–4039.
45. Lass A, Pietkiewicz H, Modzelewska E, Dumètre A, Szostakowska B, Myjak P. Detection of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in environmental soil samples using molecular methods. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009; 28: 599–605.
46. Lass A, Pietkiewicz H, Szostakowska B, Myjak P. The first detection of Toxoplasma gondii DNA in environmental fruits and vegetables samples. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012; 31: 1101–1108.
47. Simon JA, Kurdzielewicz S, Jeanniot E, Dupuis E, Marnef F, Aubert D et al. Spatial distribution of soil contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in relation to the distribution and use of domestic cat defecation sites on dairy farms. Int J Parasitol. 2017; 47(6): 357–367.
48. Dabritz HA, Conrad PA. Cats and Toxoplasma: implications for public health. Zoonoses Public Health. 2010; 57(1): 34–52.
49. Barutzki D, Schaper R. Endoparasites in dogs and cats in Germany 1999–2002. Parasitol Res. 2003; 90(Suppl 3): S148–S150.
50. Lappin MR. Update on the diagnosis and management of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats. Top Companion Anim Med. 2010; 25(3):136–141.
51. Pampiglione S, Poglayen G, Arnone B, De Lalia F. Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in the faeces of naturally infected cat. Brit Med J. 1973; 2: 306.
52. Gallo MG, Carnemolla T. Presenza di oocisti di Toxoplasma gondii nelle feci di gatti a vita libera e di proprietà in Piemonte. Ann Fac Med Vet Torino. 1991; 33: 197–205.
53. Nabi H, Rashid MI, Islam S, Bajwa AA, Gul R, Shehzad W et al. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts through Copro-PCR in cats at Pet Center (UVAS), Lahore, Pakistan. JPMA. J Pak Med Assoc. 2018; 68(1): 115–118.
54. Schares G, Vrhovec MG, Pantchev N, Herrmann DC, Conraths FJ. Occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii and Hammondia hammondi oocysts in the faeces of cats from Germany and other European countries. Vet Parasitol. 2008; 152: 34–45.