Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in dogs from Korea
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Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum are closely related protozoan parasites, they share many common hosts, and can cause neurological diseases in dogs. Dogs can have close contacts with humans and livestock and therefore they can act as reservoirs of these parasites. The aim of this study was to survey the seroprevalence of antibodies against T. gondii and N. caninum and their co-infection rate in dogs in Korea. In total, sera from 553 domestic dogs were collected from different breeds, sexes, and ages of dogs from nine provinces across the country of Korea during 2006 and 2007. The presence of antibodies against T. gondii and N. caninum was analyzed using the latex agglutination test (LAT) with a cut-off value of 1:32, and the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) using a serum titer of 1:100. In the total dog population, 71 (12.8%) dogs were positive for anti-T. gondii antibodies and only 20 (3.6%) were positive for anti-N. caninum antibodies. Relatively higher seropositive frequencies of antibodies against T. gondii (20.1%) and N. caninum (4.9%) were detected in the dog population from the Gyeonggi. A higher proportion of animals seropositive for anti-T. gondii antibodies was found in stray dog populations as compared to household dog populations: 18.5% (59/319) vs 5.1% (12/234), respectively. The Chi-square tests revealed significant differences in the seropositive frequencies of antibodies against T. gondii between stray and household dogs in the total population (p<0.0001), and in dogs from the Gyeonggi (p<0.01). No significant differences were observed for the presence of antibodies against T. gondii or N. caninum when compared across the sex or age (p>0.05). The first serological survey on antibodies against both T. gondii and N. caninum parasites across the entire country showed that co-infection was not common in these canine populations with a seropositive level of 0.72%. The significantly higher positive frequency of T. gondii antibodies in stray dogs in both, Gyeonggi and in the total dog populations suggests that further investigation on the seroprevalence of parasites should focus on stray dogs.
KeywordsDog Toxoplasma gondii Neospora caninum seroprevalence Korea
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