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Toxoplasma gondii spreads in the habitat of the Iberian lynx
Date:4/6/2010

An international team led by researchers from the University of Cordoba (UCO) has analysed seroprevalence (antibodies to a disease) of Toxoplasma Gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis in many species, including humans. This latest study reveals that the parasite is widespread in areas where the wild Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) lives, and also in captive breeding centres. Scientists are now undertaking further research into the disease itself.

Wild felids are important for maintaining the sylvatic cycle of Toxoplasma gondii, but there is little information about the epidemiology and risk factors associated with infection in most of these animals. This is the case of the Iberian Lynx, the most endangered felid species in the world and the most endangered carnivore in Europe. While no cases of clinical toxoplasmosis have been reported in the Iberian Lynx, mortality associated to Toxoplasma gondii infection has been recorded in bobcats (Lynx rufus).

"Results reveal that Toxoplasma gondii are widespread among a large population of Iberian Lynx", the main author of the study and Animal Health researcher at the UCO Ignacio Garca Bocanegra told SINC.

The research, published at the beginning of this year in the scientific journal Veterinary Parasitology, also shows that four felids born in captivity had come into contact with the parasite during the period of study, from 2005 to 2009, which confirms the presence of T. gondii in captive breeding centres.

"For this reason, steps should be taken to prevent T. gondii infection in such centres," Garca Bocanegra warned. He advises analysing the rabbits to be used to feed the lynx first, as they are the main source of infection.

Record Number of Felids Analysed

This is not the first study to analyse the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the Iberian Lynx, but it is the most complete. The researchers analysed 129 sam
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Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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