Navigation Links
Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas
Date:5/12/2011

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Researchers tracking the spread of Toxoplasma gondii a parasite that reproduces only in cats but sickens and kills many other animals have found infected wildlife throughout a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural area in central Illinois.

The researchers also found dozens of free-ranging cats in the area, the Robert Allerton Park, near Monticello, Ill. Two years of tracking, trapping and motion-triggered night photography at eight sites in the park found no evidence of bobcats, but plenty of examples of feral or abandoned house cats, many of them infected with Toxoplasma.

The research appears in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.

T. gondii reproduces in cats and is shed in their feces. Other animals pick it up from soil or water or by eating infected animals. Infection can lead to neurological problems, and sometimes death, in humans and other animals.

The researchers trapped, sedated and collected blood samples from 18 cats and hundreds of other mammals, including raccoons, opossums, squirrels, mice, woodchucks, chipmunks and rabbits. All of the animals were tagged and released where they were found.

(Watch a slide show about the research.)

One third of the cats sampled were infected with T gondii, as were significant numbers of the wild animals found at every site. Animals that inhabit or range over territories of 247 acres (100 hectares) or more, such as raccoons and opossums, were more likely to be infected than those with smaller ranges.

But these animals "could have acquired T. gondii infection somewhere outside of the park," said Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute and leader of the study. Animals with smaller home ranges likely picked up the infection close to where they were trapped, she said. This makes these animals good sentinels of disease in a natural area.

"The small animals are screening the environment for us," she said. "So when we sample one of those animals, we are really sampling their lifestyle."

The absence of bobcats in the park combined with the occurrence of domestic cats and T. gondii infection in wildlife that inhabit small territories strongly suggest that feral, free-ranging or abandoned house cats are the source of the infection, Mateus-Pinilla said. Cats are vital for the survival of the parasite, and so they are either directly or indirectly spreading T. gondii to the wildlife in the park. "There's no other option," she said.

The researchers also found that "small-home-range" animals were more likely to test positive for T. gondii if they lived near human structures in the park or in areas where there were a lot of cats, said lead author Shannon Fredebaugh, a graduate student who completed her master's degree with the study. But the researchers also found infected small-home-range animals in remote areas where fewer cats were seen.

"If one infected cat defecates there, any area can become infected," Fredebaugh said. "It just takes one cat to bring disease to an area."


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. The aging brain and Alzheimers disease: New ideas for targeting synaptic dysfunction
2. Foot and mouth disease may spread through shedding skin cells
3. Latest advances in gene therapy for ocular disease are highlighted in Human Gene Therapy
4. Celiac disease vaccine shows promising results in Phase I trial
5. Strides in identifying and improving screening practices and treatment for liver diseases
6. It takes a community of soil microbes to protect plants from disease
7. Study shows corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases
8. Drug-resistance fears for deadly fungal disease
9. Researchers join forces to cure deadly childhood disease
10. Chemical found in crude oil linked to congenital heart disease
11. Scripps Research scientists create new genetic model of premature aging diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas
(Date:2/3/2016)... Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... Missouri solved two recent hit-and-run cases with ... Vigilant Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, "I ... was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male back ... striking his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In his ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 This BCC ... bioinformatic market by reviewing the recent advances in ... that drive the field forward. Includes forecast through ... Identify the challenges and opportunities that exist in ... software solution developers, as well as IT and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced ... Research Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics ... the company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software ... generally, defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best ... and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Cenna Bioscience Inc., an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on the ... it has been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum taking ... The purpose of the Forum is to help family offices and foundations develop and ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential ... Wharton Health Care Business Conference will bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for ... industry in transformation. The conference, organized by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... , Location: Baruch S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks ... Institute and The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house for ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... present its latest innovations on its free and validated Electronic Data Capture (EDC) ... #81 the Outsourcing in Clinical Trials West Coast 2016 Conference in San Mateo, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: