Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in red deer from Central Italy
More details
Hide details
Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università di Pisa
D.R.E.Am. Italia Soc. Coop. Agr. For. Via Garibaldi 3 – 52015 Pratovecchio (AR)
Corresponding author
Simona Nardoni   

Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università di Pisa
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2016;23(4):699-701
Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii are cosmopolite protozoan parasites impacting on human and animal health. In particular, T. gondii commonly infects human beings and all warm-blooded animals, while N. caninum is responsible for bovine abortion and neuromuscular disease in dogs. The aim of the presented survey was to evaluate the occurrence and prevalence of these parasites in the most numerous Italian red deer population. The sera of 60 red deer (Cervus elaphus) inhabiting Central Italy (43°56’N 10°55’E) and killed by selective hunting were examined using an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) for both N. caninum and T. gondii antibodies. White blood cells (buffy coat) were also checked by PCR and T. gondii DNA was genotyped. Thirteen out of 60 sera (22%) scored positive for Toxoplasma, 17 samples (28%) were Neospora positive. Coinfection was recorded in 5 cases (8%). T. gondii (genotype II) and N. caninum DNA was detected in one and 3 samples of buffy coat, respectively. The presented study is the first to examine the occurrence of these parasites in the most numerous red deer Italian population, confirming this animal species as carrier of the investigated pathogens. These animals spread near human settlements, co-inhabiting with final hosts of T. gondii and N. caninum and could contribute to their transmission to domestic ruminants and humans. In particular, the seroprevalence value for N. caninum was the highest among European records.
Holtmeier FK. Animals’ influence on the landscape and ecological importance – 2015 Springer Dordrecht, Heidelberg, New York, London. p 335.
Mattioli S, Meneguz PG, Brugnoli A, Nicoloso S. Red deer in Italy: recent changes in range and numbers. Hystrix It J Mamm. 2001; 12: 27‒35.
De Craeye S, Speybroeckb N, Ajzenbergd D, Dardé ML, Collinet F, Tavernier P, Van Gucht S, Dorny P, Dierick K. Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in wildlife: Common parasites in Belgian foxes and Cervidae? Vet Parasitol. 2011; 178: 64‒69.
Dubey JP, Lindsay DS. Neosporosis, toxoplasmosis, and sarcocystosis in ruminants. Vet Clin North Am Food An Pract. 2006; 22: 645–671.
Tranas J, Heinzen RA, Weiss LM, McAllister MM. Serological evidence of human infection with the protozoan Neospora caninum. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1999; 6: 765–767.
Witkowski L, Czopowicz M, Nagy DA, Potarniche AV, Aoanei MA, Imomov N, Mickiewicz M, Welz M. Szaluś-Jordanow O, Kaba J. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild boars, red deer and roe deer in Poland. Parasite. 2015; 22: 17–20.
Ferroglio E, Bosio F, Trisciuoglio A, Zanet S. Toxoplasma gondii in sympatric wild herbivores and carnivores: epidemiology of infection in the Western Alps. Parasit Vectors. 2014; 7: 196.
Formenti F, Trogu T, Pedrotti L, Gaffuri A, Lanfranchi P, Ferrari N. Toxoplasma gondii infection in alpine red deer (Cervus elaphus): its spread and effects on fertility. PLoS ONE 2015, 10, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0138472.
Ferroglio E, Rossi L. Prevalence of Neospora caninum antibodies in wild ruminants from the Italian Alps. Vet Rec. 2001; 148: 754–755.
Bartova E, Sedlak K, Pavlik I, Literak I. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in wild ruminants from the countryside or captivity in the Czech Republic. J Parasitol. 2007; 93: 1216‒1218.
Almería S, Vidal D, Ferrer D. Pabón M, Fernández-de-Mera MI, Ruiz-Fons F, Alzaga V, Marco I, Calvete C, Lavin S, Gortazar C, López-Gatius F, Dubey JP. Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in non-carnivorous wildlife from Spain. Vet Parasitol. 2007; 19: 21‒28.
Goździk K, Jakubek EB, Björkman C, Bień J, Moskwa B, Cabaj W. Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in free living and farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Poland. Pol J Vet Sci. 2010; 13: 117–120.
Jones CD, Okhravi N, Adamson P, Tasker S, Lightman S. Comparison of PCR detection methods for B1, P30, and 18S rDNA genes of T. gondii in aqueous humor. Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000; 41; 634‒644.
Su C, Shwab EK, Zhou P, Zhu XQ, Dubey JP. Moving towards an integrated approach to molecular detection and identification of Toxoplasma gondii. Parasitology. 2010; 137: 1–11.
Müller N, Zimmermann V, Hentrich B, Gottstein B. Diagnosis of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii infection by PCR and DNA hybridization immunoassay. J Clin Microbiol. 1996; 34: 2850‒2852.
Machačová T, Ajzenberg D, Žákovská A, Sedlák K, Bártová E. Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in wild small mammals: seroprevalence, DNA detection and genotyping. Vet Parasitol. 2016; 223: 88–90.
Ajzenberg D, Yera H, Marty H, Paris L, Dalle F, Menotti J, et al. Genotype of 88 Toxoplasma gondii isolates associated with toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients and correlation with clinical findings. J Infect Dis. 2009; 199: 1155–1167.
Bureš D, Bartoň L, Kotrba R, Hakl J. Quality attributes and composition of meat from red deer (Cervus elaphus), fallow deer (Dama dama) and Aberdeen Angus and Holstein cattle (Bos taurus). J Sci Food Agric. 2015; 95: 2299–2306.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top