Research for anti - Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in free-living ducks (Cairina moschata) from Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

[Pesquisa de anticorpos anti - Toxoplasma gondii em patos (Cairina moschata) em vida livre do Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil]

A.L.C. Santos I.F. Arruda A.S. Barbosa D.A. Balthazar A.M. Augusto B.S.N. Magalhães V.L. Silva M.R.R. Amendoeira About the authors

ABSTRACT

Toxoplasmosis is a zoonosis determined by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii with wide geographic distribution, which affects homeothermic animals, with felids being their definitive hosts and other mammals and birds being their intermediate hosts. Regarding the Latin American bird species Cairina moschata, there are few reports in Brazil of the exposure of these animals to this protozoan. Based on the above, this study aimed to report for the first time the exposure of C. moschata to infection by this parasite in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, determining the serological frequency of anti-T. gondii antibodies in birds of this species. Sixty-seven specimens of C. moschata were captured in the vicinity of the Rio de Janeiro Zoo, and these animals at the time of capture were sorted by gender and type of feather. Blood samples from these animals were obtained by venipuncture to obtain the serum. The serum samples were subjected to IFAT for anti-T. gondii IgG. In general, the frequency of positive results was 58.21% (n=39), with a statistically significant association (p<0.05) between the animals with adult plumage and seropositivity. The exposure of ducks to T. gondii in the vicinity of the Zoo may indicate contamination of this area with protozoan oocysts.

Keyword:
duck; Toxoplasmosis; serology; IFAT; zoo

RESUMO

Toxoplasmose é uma zoonose determinada pelo protozoário Toxoplasma gondii de ampla distribuição geográfica, que acomete animais homeotérmicos, sendo os felídeos os seus hospedeiros definitivos, e outros mamíferos e aves os seus hospedeiros intermediários. Em relação à espécie de ave latino-americana Cairina moschata, há poucos relatos no Brasil da exposição desses animais a esse protozoário. Mediante o exposto, este estudo teve como objetivo relatar pela primeira vez a exposição de C. moschata à infecção por esse parasito no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, determinando a frequência sorológica de anticorpos anti-T. gondii em aves dessa espécie. Foram capturados, nos arredores do Zoológico do Rio de Janeiro, 67 espécimes de C. moschata, sendo esses animais, no momento da captura, triados pelo gênero e pelo tipo de pena. Amostras de sangue desses animais foram obtidas por venopunção para obtenção do soro. As amostras de soro foram submetidas à RIFI para pesquisa de anticorpos IgG anti-T. gondii. De forma geral, a frequência de positividade evidenciada foi de 58,21% (n=39), sendo observada associação estatística significativa (P<0,05) entre animais com plumagem de adultos e soropositividade. A exposição dos patos a T. gondii nos arredores do zoológico pode indicar a contaminação dessa área com oocistos do protozoário.

Palavra-chave:
pato; toxoplasmose; sorologia; RIFI; zoológico

INTRODUCTION

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic zoonosis of worldwide distribution determined by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. This facultative heteroxene cycle protozoan has felids as its definitive hosts because they eliminate oocysts in their feces, while other mammals, including humans and birds, are their intermediate hosts (Amendoeira et al., 1999AMENDOEIRA, M.R.R.; COSTA, T.; SPALDING, S.M. Toxoplasma gondii Nicolle e Manceaux 1909 (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) e a Toxoplasmose. Rev. Souza Marques, v.1, p.15-35, 1999.; Hill et al., 2005HILL, D.E.; CHIRUKANDOTH, S.; DUBEY, J.P. Biology and epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in man and animals. Anim. Health Res. Rev., v.6, p.41-61, 2005.; Robert-Gangneux and Dardé, 2012). The transmission of this protozoan occurs from the ingestion of tissue cysts present in raw or undercooked meat, sporulated oocysts present in water and food contaminated by feline feces or by transplacental transmission of tachyzoites (Amendoeira, 1995; Tenter et al., 2000TENTER, A.M.; HECKEROTH, A.R.; WEISS, L.M. Toxoplasma gondii: from animal to humans. Int. J. Parasitol., v.30, p.1217-1258, 2000.; Montoya and Liesenfeld, 2004MONTOYA, J.G.; LIESENFELD, O. Toxoplasmosis. Lancet., v.363, p.1965-1976, 2004.). In Brazil, the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in the human population can vary from 21.5% to 97.4% (Souza et al., 2010SOUZA, C.O.; TASHIMA, N.T.; SILVA, M.A.; TUMITAN, A.R.P. Cross-sectional study on toxoplasmosis among female students on a university course in the Presidente Prudente region, State of São Paulo. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop., v.43, p.59-61, 2010.; Dubey et al., 2012DUBEY, J.P.; LAGO, E.G.; GENNARI, S.M. et al. Toxoplasmosis in humans and animals in Brazil: high prevalence, high burden of disease, and epidemiology. Parasitology, v.139, p.1375-424, 2012.).

Like other bird species, those belonging to the Anatidae family, which includes individuals popularly known as ducks, drakes’ bird, geese, and swans, are also susceptible to infection by T. gondii. Frequencies of T. gondii infection in birds of the Anatidae Family from different countries, such as Mexico, Czech Republic, Egypt, China, and Brazil, ranged from 1 to 50% (Alvarado-Esquivel et al., 2011; Bártová et al., 2009BÁRTOVÁ, E.; SEDLÁK, K.; LITERÁK, I. Serologic survey for toxoplasmosis in domestic birds from the Czech Republic. Avian Pathol., v.4, p.317-320, 2009.; El -Massry et al., 2000; Literák and Hejlícek, 1993LITERÁK, I.; HEJLICEK, K. Incidence of Toxoplasma gondii in populations of domestic birds in the Czech Republic. Avian Pathol., v.22, p.275:281, 1993.; Yang et al., 2012YANG, N.; MU, M.Y.; LI, H.K. et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in slaughtered chickens, ducks, and geese in Shenyang, northeastern China. Parasites Vectors., v.5, p.1-4, 2012.; Konell et al., 2019). Except for the outbreak in domestic ducks in the Argentine chaco in 1962, there are no reports of clinical toxoplasmosis in other duck populations (Boehringer et al., 1962BOEHRINGER, E.G.; FORNARI, O.E.; BOEHRINGER, I.K. The first case of Toxoplasma gondii in domestic ducks in Argentina. Avian Dis., v.6, p.391-396, 1962.; Dubey, 2010DUBEY J.P. Toxoplasmosis of animals and humans. 2.ed. Beltsville: CCR Press, 2010. 340p.). Similar to chickens, these birds can also be considered bioindicators of environmental contamination by T. gondii oocysts due to their habit of revolving the soil with their beaks in search of food (AbouLaila et al., 2011; Ibrahim et al., 2018IBRAHIM, H.M.; OSMAN, G.Y.; MOHAMED, A.H. et al. Toxoplasma gondii: Prevalence of natural infection in pigeons and ducks from middle and upper Egypt using serologic, histopathological, and immunohistochemical diagnostic methods. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Rep., v.13, p.45-49, 2018.). In addition, viable forms of the protozoan were recovered from tissue samples from birds of the genus Anas naturally infected in Egypt, Anas platyrhynchos experimentally infected in the Czech Republic and in birds of the Anatidae family in China, indicating the possibility of transmission of T. gondii to the populations with the habit of consuming the meat of these animals (Dubey et al., 2003; Bártová et al., 2004; Zhao et al., 2015ZHAO, G.; SONG, Z.; WANG, S. A seroepidemiological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in free-range and caged ducks in southwest China. Isr. J. Vet. Med., v.70, p.41-45, 2015.).

Little is known about the role of domestic anatids in the epidemiology and ecology of toxoplasmosis when compared to other bird species. Within this context, the species Cairina moschata is included, whose subspecies C. moschata domestica descends from the South American wild species found from Mexico to northern Argentina, including Brazil (Sick, 1997SICK, H. Ordem anseriformes. In: _____. Ornitologia brasileira. [s.l.]: [s.n.], 1997. p.237-238.; Mattos Junior et al., 2008; WikiAves, 2015). In Brazil, there are several seroepidemiological surveys on T. gondii infection in different taxa of birds, domestic and wild (Gondim et al., 2010GONDIM, L.S.; ABE-SANDES, K.; UZÊDA, R.S. et al. Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in sparrows (Passer domesticus) in the Northeast of Brazil. Vet. Parasitol., v.168, p.121-124, 2010.; Feitosa et al., 2017; Camillo et al., 2018CAMILLO, G.; MACHADO, M.E.; WEBER, A. et al. Prevalência de anticorpos e fatores de risco associados à infecção por Toxoplasma gondii em galinhas domésticas da zona rural de Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul. Pesqui. Vet. Bras. v.38, p.1351-1357, 2018.; Gonçalves et al., 2018GONÇALVES, K.C.C.; AMENDOEIRA, M.R.R.; FÁTIMA CARRIJO, K. et al. Toxoplasma gondii molecular and immunological identification and risk factors associated with infection in chicken slaughtered at Triângulo Mineiro region, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Braz. J. Vet. Res. Anim. Sci., v.55, p.1-9, 2018.; Konell et al., 2019; Sato et al., 2020SATO, A.P.; VAZ, F.F.; KONELL, A.L. et al. Survey of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Sarcocystis neurona antibodies in wild red-tailed Amazon parrots (Amazona brasiliensis). Rev. Bras. Parasitol., Vet., v.29, e017519, 2020.). There are few reports of the exposure of Cairina moschata to T. gondii infection in the national territory (Ferraroni and Marzochi, 1980FERRARONI, J.J.; MARZOCHI, M.C.A. Prevalência da infecção pelo Toxoplasma gondii em animais domésticos, silvestres e grupamentos humanos da Amazônia. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz, v.75, p.99-109, 1980.; Witter et al., 2020WITTER, R.; PENA, H.F.J.; MAIA, M.O. et al. Isolation and genotyping of Toxoplasma gondii in the Midwestern Brazil revealed high genetic diversity and new genotypes. Acta Trop., v.212, p.105681, 2020.). In view of the above, this study aimed to report for the first time the exposure of C. moschata to infection by this protozoan in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, determining the serological frequency of anti-T. gondii antibodies in birds of this species.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

This study was carried out at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo Foundation (RIOZOO) from December 2015 to June 2016. At the time of the study, this institution had an area of 138,000 m2 and approximately 1300 animals under human care composed of various species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians of national and exotic fauna. The zoo in Rio is the oldest in Brazil (Barbosa et al., 2020BARBOSA, A.D.S.; PINHEIRO, J.L.; SANTOS, C.R. et al. Gastrointestinal parasites in captive animals at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo. Acta Parasitol., v.65, p.237-249, 2020.). In addition to the animals under human care in the domains of this institution, straying domestic cats, rodents, marsupials and birds circulated, including anseriformes of the Anatidae family standing out individuals from Cairina moschata, popularly known in Brazil as duck-of-the-bush or Muscovy duck (Pato-do-mato (Cairina moschata). WikiAves, 2015; International Union for Conservation Nature. 2018).

During this period, 67 specimens of ducks that lived freely around the Zoo were captured and kept in a temporary enclosure bounded by bars and tiles, without access to the public, for approximately ten months. Blood samples were collected by venipuncture of the ulnar vein by the responsible veterinarians at the Zoo and transferred to tubes without anticoagulant. A maximum volume of 2 mL of blood was collected, depending on the size and weight of the animal. During the collection of blood samples, the birds were inspected to categorize them by gender and type of feather. In this study, adult plumage or young feathers presence was used as a longevity parameter, since they are free-living animals of unknown age. For that, the body morphology was observed, as well as the commitment from each individual. This information was stored in the laboratory's database.

Blood samples were sent to the Toxoplasmosis and other Protozoan Diseases Laboratory at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute/Fiocruz in isothermal boxes. To obtain the serum, the blood samples were centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 10 minutes, transferred to previously identified 1.5 mL microtubes and stored at -20ºC until the serological test was performed. Subsequently, the samples were subjected to the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) according to Camargo (1964CAMARGO, M.E. Improved technique of indirect immunofluorescence for serological diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. São Paulo. v.6, p.117-118, 1964.). Tachyzoites of T. gondii strain RH kept in Swiss Webster outbred mice were used as antigens. For the detection of anti-T. gondii IgG, the commercial conjugate anti-duck IgG (H + L) antibody was used; Kirkegaard and Perry Laboratories - KPL® diluted in Evans Blue solution. Positive and negative control serum samples stored in the laboratory were used for each reaction. The reactions that showed total fluorescence of the surface of the tachyzoite at dilutions equal to or greater than 1:16 were considered positive (Millar et al., 2012MILLAR, P.R.; ALVES, F.M.X.; TEIXEIRA, V.Q. et al. Occurrence of infection with Toxoplasma gondii and factors associated with transmission in broiler chickens and laying hens in different raising systems. Pesqui. Vet. Bras., v.32, p.231-236, 2012.).

The statistical analysis of the data was performed using the statistical program GraphPad Prism 7. To check the association between two categorical variables, Pearson's χ² test was performed. In assessing the impact between the variables gender and type of feather, the odds ratio (OR) values with their respective 95% confidence intervals (CI) were described. Associations where p≤0.05 were considered significant.

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals - CEUA / IOC-Fiocruz under license L-045/2016 and by the Biodiversity Authorization and Information System (SISBIO), Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), Ministry of the Environment, under number 54797.

RESULTS

Of the total sera analyzed, 58.2% (39/67) were reagents for anti-T. gondii IgG on IFAT. Antibody titers ranged from 1:16 to 1:1024, with 20.5% (8/39) positive in 1:16 titration, 35.9% (14/39) in 1:64, 35.9% (14/39) in 1:256 and 7.7% (3/39) at 1:1024. Regarding the gender of birds, 59.5% of the females and 56.7% of the males had anti-T. gondii antibodies, with no significant difference between genders and the frequency of birds seropositive for T. gondii included in the study. For type of feather, the frequency of reactive individuals with adult plumage was significantly higher than that ducks with young feather. Ducks with young feather had a 0.71 times lower chance of exposure to T. gondii than adult plumage (Table 1).

Table 1
Distribution of the frequency of Cairina moschata sera reagents for T. gondii by indirect immunofluorescence (IFAT) according to gender and type of feather captured at the RIOZOO Foundation from December 2015 to June 2016

DISCUSSION

In general, the frequency of Cairina moschata positive for Toxoplasma gondii found in the present study was 58.2%. Lower frequencies were detected in different species of the Anatidae family in the Czech Republic 24%, China 4.7% to 7.8%, and Malaysia 14.6%, as well as in Anas platyrhynchos (5.7%) in Germany and (10.5%) Egypt, in Anser anser (25.2%) in Germany and in birds of the genus Anser sp. (18%) in Brazil (Bártová et al., 2009BÁRTOVÁ, E.; SEDLÁK, K.; LITERÁK, I. Serologic survey for toxoplasmosis in domestic birds from the Czech Republic. Avian Pathol., v.4, p.317-320, 2009.; Maksimov et al., 2011MAKSIMOV, P.; BUSCHTÖNS, S.; HERRMANN, D.C. et al. Serological survey and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii in domestic ducks and geese in Lower Saxony, Germany. Vet. Parasitol., v.182, p.140-149, 2011.; Yang et al., 2012YANG, N.; MU, M.Y.; LI, H.K. et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in slaughtered chickens, ducks, and geese in Shenyang, northeastern China. Parasites Vectors., v.5, p.1-4, 2012.; Puvanesuaran et al., 2013PUVANESUARAN, V.R.; NOORDIN, R.; BALAKRISHNAN, V. Isolation and genotyping of Toxoplasma gondii from free-range ducks in Malaysia. Avian Dis., v.57, p.128-132, 2013.; Ibrahim et al., 2018IBRAHIM, H.M.; OSMAN, G.Y.; MOHAMED, A.H. et al. Toxoplasma gondii: Prevalence of natural infection in pigeons and ducks from middle and upper Egypt using serologic, histopathological, and immunohistochemical diagnostic methods. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Rep., v.13, p.45-49, 2018.; Konell et al., 2019).

El-Massry et al. (2000) and Alvarado-Esquivel et al. (2011) detected seropositivity similar to this study, 50% in individuals of the family Anatidae in Egypt, as well as in Anas platyrhynchos and Anas diazi in Mexico. The difference in the frequencies detected in anatids seroreactive for T. gondii observed in the present study in comparison with the ones mentioned above may be due to the sample sizes included in them, as well as due to the susceptibility of different species of anatids to infection by the protozoan, including the etiological characteristics and physiological characteristics, environmental and geographical characteristics of these locations, serological test used in the study and its previously established cutoff point.

The high frequency observed in the population of C. moschata evaluated was already expected, considering that they were animals in free life. This correlation between free-living anatids and the high frequency of birds exposed to T. gondii has also been reported in China (Yang et al., 2012YANG, N.; MU, M.Y.; LI, H.K. et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in slaughtered chickens, ducks, and geese in Shenyang, northeastern China. Parasites Vectors., v.5, p.1-4, 2012.; Zhao et al., 2015ZHAO, G.; SONG, Z.; WANG, S. A seroepidemiological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in free-range and caged ducks in southwest China. Isr. J. Vet. Med., v.70, p.41-45, 2015.). It is known that free-living birds, such as those included in the present study, end up presenting a greater chance of ingesting T. gondii oocysts in different environments (Millar et al., 2012MILLAR, P.R.; ALVES, F.M.X.; TEIXEIRA, V.Q. et al. Occurrence of infection with Toxoplasma gondii and factors associated with transmission in broiler chickens and laying hens in different raising systems. Pesqui. Vet. Bras., v.32, p.231-236, 2012.). It is important to note that C. moschata individuals cohabited the Zoo's surroundings with stray populations of domestic cats, which may have favored the parasite's prey-predator biological cycle. Even so, it cannot be ruled out that the small sample number of birds included may have contributed to the detection of high seropositivity. It is worth mentioning that the animals evaluated in the present study were free-living birds; thus, obtaining blood samples was dependent on the success of the capture, a situation not always achieved regularly, highlighting the importance and rarity of the information obtained with this biological material.

Despite the high frequency detected of T. gondii seropositive C. moschata, the birds evaluated in the present study did not show clinical signs suggestive of toxoplasmosis at the time of containment. A similar panorama was found with A. platyrhynchos in the Czech Republic, infected with T. gondii oocysts orally, who did not develop any clinical signs after 28 days of infection, although they were seroconverted (Bártová et al., 2004BÁRTOVÁ, E.; DVORÁKOVÁ, H.; BÁRTA, J. et al. Susceptibility of the domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos) to experimental infection with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts. Avian Pathol. v.33, p.153-157, 2004.). The findings of the present study, added to what was exposed in the literature, indicate that these anatids, although susceptible to infection by T. gondii, can develop infections with an asymptomatic profile.

Most seroepidemiological surveys that assessed the exposure of anatids to T. gondii are restricted to countries where these animals are consumed by the human population, such as Southeast Asia and Egypt (El-Massry et al., 2000; Dubey et al., 2003DUBEY, J.P.; GRAHAM, D.H.; DAHL, E. et al. Isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from chickens and ducks from Egypt. Vet. Parasitol., v.114, p.89-95, 2003., Yan et al., 2009YAN, C.; YUE, C.L.; YUAN, Z.G. et al. Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic ducks, free-range and caged chickens in southern China. Vet. Parasitol., v.165, p.337-340, 2009.; Yang et al., 2012YANG, N.; MU, M.Y.; LI, H.K. et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in slaughtered chickens, ducks, and geese in Shenyang, northeastern China. Parasites Vectors., v.5, p.1-4, 2012.; Zhao et al., 2015ZHAO, G.; SONG, Z.; WANG, S. A seroepidemiological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in free-range and caged ducks in southwest China. Isr. J. Vet. Med., v.70, p.41-45, 2015.; Ibrahim et al., 2018IBRAHIM, H.M.; OSMAN, G.Y.; MOHAMED, A.H. et al. Toxoplasma gondii: Prevalence of natural infection in pigeons and ducks from middle and upper Egypt using serologic, histopathological, and immunohistochemical diagnostic methods. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Rep., v.13, p.45-49, 2018.). Similar to other homoeothermic animals intended for human consumption, anatids can harbor tissue forms of T. gondii in their meat. Thus, the consumption of raw or undercooked meat from these animals can represent an important risk factor for the human population that consumes them. In their free lives, anatids such as C. moschata in the present study can be prey for countless species of mammals and carnivorous birds. In addition, these anatids are generally territorial, but they fly in need of food and shelter, which may favor the exchange of genetic lines of T. gondii when chronically infected birds are preyed upon by felids.

Most of the studies that evaluated the frequency of anti-T. gondii antibodies was performed with anatids of the genus Anas, mainly in the species A. platyrhynchos (Dubey et al., 2003DUBEY, J.P.; GRAHAM, D.H.; DAHL, E. et al. Isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from chickens and ducks from Egypt. Vet. Parasitol., v.114, p.89-95, 2003.; Bártová et al., 2004BÁRTOVÁ, E.; DVORÁKOVÁ, H.; BÁRTA, J. et al. Susceptibility of the domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos) to experimental infection with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts. Avian Pathol. v.33, p.153-157, 2004.; Alvarado-Esquivel et al., 2011; Maksimov et al., 2011MAKSIMOV, P.; BUSCHTÖNS, S.; HERRMANN, D.C. et al. Serological survey and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii in domestic ducks and geese in Lower Saxony, Germany. Vet. Parasitol., v.182, p.140-149, 2011.; Ibrahim et al., 2018IBRAHIM, H.M.; OSMAN, G.Y.; MOHAMED, A.H. et al. Toxoplasma gondii: Prevalence of natural infection in pigeons and ducks from middle and upper Egypt using serologic, histopathological, and immunohistochemical diagnostic methods. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Rep., v.13, p.45-49, 2018.). Only AbouLaila et al. (2011) in Egypt, among the recovered articles, previously reported the detection of anti-T. gondii antibodies in C. moschata, popularly known as duck-of-the-bush. In addition to the present study, the other two reports of T. gondii infection in C. moschata in Brazil are presented by Ferraroni and Marzochi (1980FERRARONI, J.J.; MARZOCHI, M.C.A. Prevalência da infecção pelo Toxoplasma gondii em animais domésticos, silvestres e grupamentos humanos da Amazônia. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz, v.75, p.99-109, 1980.) and Witter et al. (2020WITTER, R.; PENA, H.F.J.; MAIA, M.O. et al. Isolation and genotyping of Toxoplasma gondii in the Midwestern Brazil revealed high genetic diversity and new genotypes. Acta Trop., v.212, p.105681, 2020.). The first found anti-T. gondii antibodies in 40% of ducks evaluated in Manaus, northern Brazil, by indirect hemagglutination test (Ferraroni and Marzochi, 1980). More recently, Witter et al. (2020) detected the parasite DNA in tissues of free-living C. moschata from Midwestern Brazil. In this context, T. gondii infection in C. moschata should be further investigated in future studies seeking to assess the role of these birds as bioindicators of environmental contamination by oocysts and as an intermediate host in the transmission cycle and in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in Brazil.

In the present study, high titers of anti-T. gondii IgG were detected by IFAT, up to 1:1024. In the study by Bártová et al. (2009BÁRTOVÁ, E.; SEDLÁK, K.; LITERÁK, I. Serologic survey for toxoplasmosis in domestic birds from the Czech Republic. Avian Pathol., v.4, p.317-320, 2009.), anti-T. gondii antibody titers ranged from 1:40 to 1:320 in Anas platyrhynchos in the Czech Republic using the same technique. However, most other reports used the modified agglutination test (MAT) as a method for the detection of anti-T. gondii IgG (Dubey et al., 2003DUBEY, J.P.; GRAHAM, D.H.; DAHL, E. et al. Isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from chickens and ducks from Egypt. Vet. Parasitol., v.114, p.89-95, 2003.; Yan et al., 2009YAN, C.; YUE, C.L.; YUAN, Z.G. et al. Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic ducks, free-range and caged chickens in southern China. Vet. Parasitol., v.165, p.337-340, 2009.; Alvarado-Esquivel et al., 2011; AbouLaila et al., 2011; Yang et al., 2012YANG, N.; MU, M.Y.; LI, H.K. et al. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in slaughtered chickens, ducks, and geese in Shenyang, northeastern China. Parasites Vectors., v.5, p.1-4, 2012.; Puvanesuaran et al., 2013PUVANESUARAN, V.R.; NOORDIN, R.; BALAKRISHNAN, V. Isolation and genotyping of Toxoplasma gondii from free-range ducks in Malaysia. Avian Dis., v.57, p.128-132, 2013.; Zhao et al., 2015ZHAO, G.; SONG, Z.; WANG, S. A seroepidemiological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in free-range and caged ducks in southwest China. Isr. J. Vet. Med., v.70, p.41-45, 2015.). The absence of a gold standard technique for the diagnosis of avian toxoplasmosis makes comparisons between the few studies carried out with these birds difficult.

From the results obtained, both genders of C. moschata that circulate around the RIOZOO Foundation are equally exposed to infection by T. gondii. A similar result was observed in Anas platyrhyncos from different provinces in Egypt (Ibrahim et al., 2018IBRAHIM, H.M.; OSMAN, G.Y.; MOHAMED, A.H. et al. Toxoplasma gondii: Prevalence of natural infection in pigeons and ducks from middle and upper Egypt using serologic, histopathological, and immunohistochemical diagnostic methods. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Rep., v.13, p.45-49, 2018.). Regarding of adult plumage or young feather presence, the greatest exposure was found in birds with adult plumage. This result was already expected, considering that birds with adult plumage have a higher presumed age and, consequently, a greater chance of exposure to the possibly contaminated environment throughout their lives compared to individuals with young feather.

CONCLUSION

From this serological survey, it was possible to demonstrate that the Cairina moschata birds that circulated around the RIOZOO Foundation were exposed to infection by T. gondii, indicating the possible environmental contamination of this area with oocysts of the parasite, since they are birds with territorial behavior. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in C. moschata in the southeastern region of Brazil.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The authors would like to thank the RIOZOO Foundation for the collaboration and the supply of biological material. The authors also thank the laboratory support of the Toxoplasmosis and other Protozoan Diseases Laboratory, Oswaldo Cruz Institute - IOC / Fiocruz. In addition to the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), for financial support.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    10 June 2022
  • Date of issue
    May-Jun 2022

History

  • Received
    22 Sept 2021
  • Accepted
    20 Dec 2021
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil
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