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Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
J Wildl Dis. 2010 Jul; 46(3):1005-11.JW

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common protozoan parasites of humans and warm-blooded animals. Members of the family Felidae are the only definitive hosts of this parasite and, thus, important in the epidemiology of the disease. Previous studies on Pacific islands have found T. gondii infections in a number of avian species where domestic cats (Felis catus) have been introduced. Little is known about T. gondii in the Galapagos Islands, although introduced domestic cats in the archipelago are known to be T. gondii antibody-positive. In this study, we quantified prevalence of antibody to T. gondii in two threatened avian marine species, Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and Flightless Cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi), and tested the hypothesis that this parasite is more prevalent on Isabela Island (with cats) than on Fernandina Island (without cats). Overall, antibody prevalence was 2.3% in both Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants from samples collected during 2003-2005, and in 2008. In Galapagos Penguins (n=298), a significantly higher antibody prevalence was found in penguins on Fernandina Island (free of cats) than on Isabela Island (with cats; Fisher's exact test; P=0.02). In Flightless Cormorants (n=258), there was a higher antibody prevalence in cormorants living on Isabela than on Fernandina, although this difference was not statistically significant (Fisher's; P=0.19). This study is the first to show exposure to T. gondii in endemic avian species in the Galapagos Islands, providing evidence for disease-related risks associated with the feral cat population in the archipelago. We provide possible explanations for these findings and recommendations for future studies towards a better understanding of the epidemiology of T. gondii in the Galapagos Islands.

Authors+Show Affiliations

WildCare Institute, Saint Louis Zoo, One Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA. deem@stlzoo.orgNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

20688714

Citation

Deem, Sharon L., et al. "Exposure to Toxoplasma Gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus Mendiculus) and Flightless Cormorants (Phalacrocorax Harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador." Journal of Wildlife Diseases, vol. 46, no. 3, 2010, pp. 1005-11.
Deem SL, Merkel J, Ballweber L, et al. Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. J Wildl Dis. 2010;46(3):1005-11.
Deem, S. L., Merkel, J., Ballweber, L., Vargas, F. H., Cruz, M. B., & Parker, P. G. (2010). Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 46(3), 1005-11.
Deem SL, et al. Exposure to Toxoplasma Gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus Mendiculus) and Flightless Cormorants (Phalacrocorax Harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. J Wildl Dis. 2010;46(3):1005-11. PubMed PMID: 20688714.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. AU - Deem,Sharon L, AU - Merkel,Jane, AU - Ballweber,Lora, AU - Vargas,F Hernan, AU - Cruz,Marilyn B, AU - Parker,Patricia G, PY - 2010/8/7/entrez PY - 2010/8/7/pubmed PY - 2010/11/13/medline SP - 1005 EP - 11 JF - Journal of wildlife diseases JO - J Wildl Dis VL - 46 IS - 3 N2 - Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common protozoan parasites of humans and warm-blooded animals. Members of the family Felidae are the only definitive hosts of this parasite and, thus, important in the epidemiology of the disease. Previous studies on Pacific islands have found T. gondii infections in a number of avian species where domestic cats (Felis catus) have been introduced. Little is known about T. gondii in the Galapagos Islands, although introduced domestic cats in the archipelago are known to be T. gondii antibody-positive. In this study, we quantified prevalence of antibody to T. gondii in two threatened avian marine species, Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and Flightless Cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi), and tested the hypothesis that this parasite is more prevalent on Isabela Island (with cats) than on Fernandina Island (without cats). Overall, antibody prevalence was 2.3% in both Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants from samples collected during 2003-2005, and in 2008. In Galapagos Penguins (n=298), a significantly higher antibody prevalence was found in penguins on Fernandina Island (free of cats) than on Isabela Island (with cats; Fisher's exact test; P=0.02). In Flightless Cormorants (n=258), there was a higher antibody prevalence in cormorants living on Isabela than on Fernandina, although this difference was not statistically significant (Fisher's; P=0.19). This study is the first to show exposure to T. gondii in endemic avian species in the Galapagos Islands, providing evidence for disease-related risks associated with the feral cat population in the archipelago. We provide possible explanations for these findings and recommendations for future studies towards a better understanding of the epidemiology of T. gondii in the Galapagos Islands. SN - 1943-3700 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20688714/Exposure_to_Toxoplasma_gondii_in_Galapagos_Penguins__Spheniscus_mendiculus__and_flightless_cormorants__Phalacrocorax_harrisi__in_the_Galapagos_Islands_Ecuador_ L2 - http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/10.7589/0090-3558-46.3.1005?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -