Seroepidemiological study of canine Leishmania infantum and Toxoplasma gondii infections in Shanghai, China, and analysis of risk factors

Wei Jiang 1,  
Yan Wang 2,  
Yingchun Liu 1,  
Tao Li 1,  
Yongjun Chen 1,  
Shaohui Wang 1,  
Xiangan Han 1,  
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Shanghai, PR China
Animals, Plants and Food Inspection and Quarantine Technical Center of Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Shanghai, PR China
Ann Agric Environ Med 2016;23(3):420–424
The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of [i]Leishmania infantum[/i] and [i]Toxoplasma gondii[/i] among household dogs in Shanghai (the most important industrial and commercial city in China), and to assess the possible risk factors associated with the infection. During 2014–2015, a total of 408 sera were collected from healthy household dogs and tested for[i] L. infantum[/i] and [i]T. gondii[/i] infection using commercial ELISA kits. The endemic characteristics according to gender, age group and breed were revealed by statistical descriptions and inference. The positive rates of [i]L. infantum[/i] infection (24/408, 5.9%) were lower than those of [i]T. gondii[/i] infection (37/408, 9.1%), and co-infection with both parasites was detected in seven dogs (7/408, 1.7%). Seropositivity for either parasite was more likely associated with age: the seroprevalence of [i]T. gondii[/i] infection ranged from 1.3% (dogs≤1 year) – 18.7% (dogs>6 years), whereas that of [i]L. infantum[/i] ranged from 1.3% (dogs≤1 year) – 9.9 % (dogs>6 years). Interestingly, the rates of exposure to both [i]L. infantum[/i] and [i]T. gondii [/i]were higher in males than in females. Relatively higher exposure rates for [i]L. infantum[/i] and [i]T. gondii[/i] were also observed in crossbred dogs compared with purebred dogs. However, neither gender nor breed is likely a determining factor for infection with these two parasites (P > 0.05). Identification of the risk factors that underlie these differences may help in the prevention of [i]L. infantum[/i] and [i]T. gondii [/i]infection in household dogs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of [i]L. infantum[/i] and [i]T. gondii[/i] infection in household dogs in Shanghai, which shows that these two important parasites are still prevalent in this region. Therefore, it is necessary to take integrated strategies for prevention and control of infection in animals, which could help to reduce human infection in the region.