Attempted Detection of Toxoplasma gondii Oocysts in Environmental Waters Using a Simple Approach to Evaluate the Potential for Waterborne Transmission in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
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- Verant, M.L., d’Ozouville, N., Parker, P.G. et al. EcoHealth (2014) 11: 207. doi:10.1007/s10393-013-0888-5
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Toxoplasmosis is a health concern for wildlife and humans, particularly in island ecosystems. In the Galápagos Islands, exposure to Toxoplasma gondii has been found in marine avifauna on islands with and without domestic cats. To evaluate potential waterborne transmission of T. gondii, we attempted to use filtration and epifluorescent microscopy to detect autofluorescent T. gondii oocysts in fresh and estuarine surface water samples. T. gondii oocyst-like structures were microscopically visualized but were not confirmed by polymerase chain reaction and sequence analyses. Further research is needed to refine environmental pathogen screening techniques and to evaluate disease risk of waterborne zoonoses such as T. gondii for wildlife and humans, particularly in the Galápagos and other naive island ecosystems.