Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in Dromedary camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) from Saudi Arabia

Soroprevalência de Toxoplasma gondii e Neospora caninum em camelos dromedário (Camelus dromedarius) da Arábia Saudita

Osama Badri Mohammed Nabil Amor Sawsan Ali Omer Abdulaziz Nasser Alagaili About the authors

Abstract

Serological screening of 199 serum samples from Dromedary camels—from different cities in Saudi Arabia—was performed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detecting antibodies against two cyst-forming coccidian parasites, namely Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum. Antibodies against T. gondii were detected in 68 (34.2%) samples, while those against N. caninum were present in 33 (16.6%) samples. The highest seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies was reported in samples from Taif (51.2%), while the lowest seroprevalence was reported in samples from Riyadh and Hofuf (15.1%). The highest seroprevalence of N. caninum antibodies was reported in samples from Jizan (35.9%) while the lowest was reported in samples from Taif (2.4%). A total of 47 male and 21 female camels exhibited antibodies against T. gondii , while 19 male and 14 female camels showed antibodies against N. caninum . Concurrent detection of both T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies was observed in 18 camels. It has been demonstrated that T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies are prevalent in camels from different cities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Keywords:
Dromedary camel; Saudi Arabia; Seroprevalence; Neospora caninum; Toxoplasma gondii

Resumo

A triagem sorológica para a detecção de anticorpos para Toxoplasma gondii e Neospora caninum no camelo dromedário foi realizada investigando 199 amostras de soro coletadas em diferentes cidades da Arábia Saudita. As amostras foram testadas utilizando imunoensaios enzimáticos para a detecção de anticorpos de ambos os parasitas coccídeos formadores de cistos (Laboratórios IDEXX, Bommeli Diagnostics, AG, Berna, Suíça). Anticorpos contra T. gondii foram detectados em 68 (34,2%) amostras, enquanto 33 (16,6%) apresentaram anticorpos contra N. caninum. A maior soroprevalência de anticorpos contra T. gondii (51,2%) foi relatada em Taif, enquanto a menor soroprevalência (15,1%) foi relatada em Riyadh e Hofuf. A maior soroprevalência de anticorpos contra N. caninum foi relatada em Jizan (35,9%), enquanto a menor foi em Taif (2,4%). Um total de 47 machos e 21 fêmeas revelou anticorpos para T. gondii , enquanto 19 machos e 14 fêmeas revelaram anticorpos para N. caninum . A detecção de ambos os anticorpos contra T. gondii e N. caninum foi de 18 indivíduos. Foi demonstrado que os anticorpos contra T. gondii e N. caninum são predominantes em camelos de diferentes cidades do Reino da Arábia Saudita.

Palavras-chave:
Camelo dromedário; Arábia Saudita; Soroprevalência; Neospora caninum; Toxoplasma gondii

Introduction

Neospora caninumand Toxoplasma gondii are obligate intracellular protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of domestic and non-domestic animals, as well as humans ( Dubey, 2010Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis in animals and man. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2010. ; Donahoe et al., 2015Donahoe SL, Lindsay SA, Krockenberger M, Phalen D, Šlapeta J. A review of neosporosis and pathologic findings of Neospora caninum infection in wildlife. Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2015; 4(2): 216-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2015.04.002. PMid:25973393.
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). The zoonotic nature of toxoplasmosis has been well established, whereas despite serological evidence in humans, the disease caused by N. caninum is not considered zoonotic ( Tranas et al., 1999Tranas J, Heinzen RA, Weiss LM, McAllister MM. Serological evidence of human infection with the protozoan Neospora caninum. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 1999; 6(5): 765-767. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/CDLI.6.5.765-767.1999. PMid:10473533.
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; Lobato et al., 2006Lobato J, Silva DA, Mineo TW, Amaral JD, Segundo GRS, Costa-Cruz JM, et al. Detection of immunoglobulin G antibodies to Neospora caninum in humans: high seropositivity rates in patients who are infected by human immunodeficiency virus or have neurological disorders. Clin Vaccine Immunol 2006; 13(1): 84-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/CVI.13.1.84-89.2006. PMid:16426004.
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). T. gondii (a cyst-forming coccidium) was first discovered in 1908 and named a year later; however, its life cycle was fully elucidated in the 1970s ( Dubey & Frenkel, 1972Dubey JP, Frenkel JK. Cyst-induced toxoplasmosis in cats. J Protozool 1972; 19(1): 155-177. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1550-7408.1972.tb03431.x. PMid:5008846.
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). The other cyst-forming coccidium, N. caninum , was first identified in 1984 ( Bjerkas et al., 1984Bjerkas I, Mohn SF, Presthus J. Unidentified cyst-forming sporozoon causing encephalomyelitis and myositis in dogs. Z Parasitenkd 1984; 70(2): 271-274. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00942230. PMid:6426185.
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) and its detailed life cycle was elucidated in 1998 ( McAllister et al., 1998McAllister MM, Dubey JP, Lindsay DS, Jolley WR, Wills RA, McGuire AM. Dogs are definitive hosts of Neospora caninum. Int J Parasitol 1998; 28(9): 1473-1479. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0020-7519(98)00138-6. PMid:9770635.
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).

Both parasites are believed to be transmitted to intermediate hosts via consumption of food contaminated with the sporulated oocysts shed by the definitive hosts. Domestic cat and other members of the family Felidae are the definitive hosts for T. gondii ( Dubey, 2010Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis in animals and man. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2010. ), while dogs and coyotes are the definitive hosts for N. caninum ( McAllister et al., 1998McAllister MM, Dubey JP, Lindsay DS, Jolley WR, Wills RA, McGuire AM. Dogs are definitive hosts of Neospora caninum. Int J Parasitol 1998; 28(9): 1473-1479. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0020-7519(98)00138-6. PMid:9770635.
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; Gondim et al., 2004Gondim LFP, McAllister MM, Pitt WC, Zemlicka DE. Coyotes ( Canis latrans ) are definitive hosts of Neospora caninum. Int J Parasitol 2004; 34(2): 159-161. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2004.01.001. PMid:15037103.
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). Vertical transmission from mother to fetus through the placenta is an alternative route for transmission of both parasites ( McAllister et al., 2000McAllister MM, Bjorkman C, Anderson-Sprecher R, Rogers DG. Evidence of point-source exposure to Neospora caninum and protective immunity in a herd of beef cows. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000; 217(6): 881-887. http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/javma.2000.217.881. PMid:10997162.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/javma.2000.217...
; Dubey, 2010Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis in animals and man. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2010. ).

N. caninumis a bovine pathogen and abortion is the principal clinical manifestation of infected pregnant animals ( Dubey & Schares, 2011Dubey JP, Schares G. Neosporosis in animals - The last five years. Vet Parasitol 2011; 180(1-2): 90-108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.05.031. PMid:21704458.
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). Intrauterine fetal death may occur during late gestation; the dead fetuses are usually expelled and show moderate autolysis. Fetuses succumbing in less than five months or during early gestation may be mummified and retained in the uterus for several months. Repeat breeding may be a consequence of fetal death during early stage of gestation in infected cows ( Moore et al., 2002Moore DP, Campero CM, Odeón AC, Posso MA, Cano D, Leunda MR, et al. Seroepidemiology of beef and dairy herds and fetal study of Neospora caninum in Argentina. Vet Parasitol 2002; 107(4): 303-316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(02)00129-2. PMid:12163242.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(02)...
). One of the clinical features of toxoplasmosis is abortion, along with neurological symptoms in its intermediate hosts ( Dubey & Beattie, 1988Dubey JP, Beattie CP. Toxoplasmosis of animals and man. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc.; 1988. ; Dubey, 2010Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis in animals and man. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2010. ).

Various reports on N. caninum and T. gondii antibodies in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) from Saudi Arabia and the neighboring countries have been published ( Hussein et al., 1988Hussein MF, Bakkar NM, Basmaeil SM, Gar el Nabi A. Prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Saudi Arabian camels ( Camelus dromedarius ). Vet Parasitol 1988; 28(1-2): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)90030-1. PMid:3388734.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)9...
; Hilali et al., 1998Hilali M, Romand S, Thulliez P, Kwok OCH, Dubey JP. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in sera from camels from Egypt. Vet Parasitol 1998; 75(2-3): 269-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)00181-7. PMid:9637230.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)...
; Sadrebazzaz et al., 2006Sadrebazzaz A, Haddadzadeh H, Shayan P. Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Mashhad, Iran. Parasitol Res 2006; 98(6): 600-601. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-0118-3. PMid:16425066.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-011...
; Wernery et al., 2008Wernery U, Thomas R, Raghavan R, Syriac G, Joseph S, Georgy N. Seroepidemiological studies for the detection of antibodies against 8 infectious diseases in dairy dromedaries of the United Arab Emirates using modern laboratory techniques – Part II. J Camel Pract Res 2008; 15(2): 139-145. ; Hosseininejad et al., 2010Hosseininejad M, Pirali-Kheirabadi K, Ebrahimi A, Hosseini F. Toxoplasma gondii infection in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ): A serologic assay in Iran. J Camel Pract Res 2010; 17(1): 35-36. ; Alanazi, 2011Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. ; Hamidinejat et al., 2013Hamidinejat H, Ghorbanpour M, Rasooli A, Nouri M, Hekmatimoghaddam S, Namavari MM, et al. Occurrence of anti- Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum antibodies in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in the center of Iran. Turk J Vet Anim Sci 2013; 37: 277-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34...
; Aljumaah et al., 2018Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
). Most of these reports detected a low prevalence of N. caninum (3.2% to 5.8%) whereas the report by Aljumaah et al. (2018)Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
reported a considerably higher prevalence of 22%. T. gondii antibodies in these studies were reported in the range between 4.2% and 17.4%.

Only two studies dealing with the seroprevalence of N. caninum from camels ( C. dromedarius ) were conducted in Saudi Arabia; the first one was limited to Riyadh Province ( Alanazi, 2011Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. ). The second study was by Aljumaah et al. (2018)Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
from different regions of Saudi Arabia who reported high prevalence of N. caninum antibodies. There was a contrast between the findings of the two studies where seroprevalence was found 5.6% in the first study while it was 21.99% in the second study. Furthermore, both studies dealt only with N. caninum and did not show the cities from where the samples were collected. Cities are important for the availability of camels slaughtered for human consumption. Studies on T. gondii in camels were only few and restricted to Riyadh and Hofuf, the study from Hofuf was not even on seroprevalence and it was on investigating the role of camels as an intermediate host for the parasite, no study has covered different cities in Saudi Arabia ( Hussein et al., 1988Hussein MF, Bakkar NM, Basmaeil SM, Gar el Nabi A. Prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Saudi Arabian camels ( Camelus dromedarius ). Vet Parasitol 1988; 28(1-2): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)90030-1. PMid:3388734.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)9...
; Hilali et al., 1995Hilali M, Fatani A, Al-Atiya S. Isolation of tissue cysts of Toxoplasma, Isospora, Hammondia and Sarcocystis from camel (Camelus dromedarius) meat in Saudi Arabia. Vet Parasitol 1995; 58(4): 353-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(94)00727-T. PMid:8533274.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(94)0...
; Alanazi, 2011Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. , 2013Alanazi AD. Determination of seropositivity for Toxoplasma gondii in sheep, goats and camels slaughtered for food and human consumptions in Riyadh municipal abattoirs, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2013; 43(3): 569-576. http://dx.doi.org/10.12816/0006414. PMid:24640857.
http://dx.doi.org/10.12816/0006414...
).

In the present study, we reported the antibody prevalence of both T. gondii and N. caninum in the Dromedary camel ( Camelus dromedarius ) from blood samples collected from different cities of Saudi Arabia in order to understand the potential role of this animal species in the epidemiology of these parasites and the possible risk of zoonosis.

Materials and Methods:

Blood samples were obtained from apparently healthy camels by drawing 5 ml of jugular blood into plain vacutainer tubes (Becton, Dickinson and Company 1 Becton Drive, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA) and then left to clot. Serum was collected after subjecting the clotted blood to centrifugation at 900 g for 10 minutes and stored at -20 °C until further use. A total of 199 blood samples were collected from camels from different cities in Saudi Arabia. Hofuf (n=38) represented the eastern region, Riyadh (n=38) represented the central region, Tabuk (n=43) represented the northern region, Jizan (n=39) represented the southern region and Taif (n=41) represented the western region. None of the sampled camels showed apparent signs of any disease and none of the females appeared to be pregnant.

An Enzyme-Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay (ELISA)-utilizing a kit available from Idexx (HerdCheck ® Anti- Neospora ; and Idexx Toxo-test IDEXX Laboratories; Bommeli Diagnostics, AG, Bern, Switzerland)-was used to detect anti- Neospora and anti- Toxoplasma IgG-antibodies in the camel serum samples. The kits were used as per the manufacturers’ instructions. In the laboratory, the detection of the primary antibodies to T. gondii and N. caninum in the camel serum samples was brought about by using the secondary antibody anti-llama IgG-horseradish peroxidase conjugate (Bethyl Laboratories, Montgomery, TX) at a dilution of 1:15,000. This conjugate was previously used at the laboratory for the detection of antibodies to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome corona virus (MERS CoV) in camel serum samples ( Alagaili et al. , 2014Alagaili AN, Briese T, Mishra N, Kapoor V, Sameroff SC, Burbelo PD, et al. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia. MBio 2014; 5(2): e00884-e14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01002-14. PMid:24570370.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01002-14...
). The presence or absence of antibodies was determined via reading the reaction result on the ELISA reader at 450 nm. The presence or absence of specific antibodies for each test sample was determined by comparing the optical density percentage of the test samples with those of the control samples provided with the kit. Samples showing values of ≥ 40% were considered positive using the following formula:

OD% of the test sample = OD of sample OD of negative control OD of positive control OD of negative control × 100

Statistical analysis of data obtained for the seroprevalence of N. caninum and T. gondii were computed using the Chi square test in the GraphPad statistical software (Prism 6.0). Chi square test values were considered significant if p ≤ 0.05. The relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval were calculated according to Altman (1991)Altman DG. Practical statistics for medical research. London: Chapman and Hall; 1991. .

Results

The overall antibody prevalence of T. gondii was found to be 34.2%, with the highest prevalence being reported in serum samples from Taif (51.2%), while the lowest was recorded from camels from Riyadh and Hofuf (15.8%), as shown in Table 1 and Figure 1 . Antibodies against T. gondii were detected in 47 (35.1%) females and 21 (32.1%) males. T. gondii was more prevalent in males than in females in Taif (56.8%) and Jizan (54.2%), while the highest female seroprevalence of T. gondii was reported in samples from Tabuk (58.8%) ( Table 2 ). The risk ratio of T. gondii prevalence is significantly higher in Taif, Jizan, and Tabuk than in Riyadh and Hofuf ( Table 1 ).

Table 1
Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in camels from different cities and comparison of risk ratio (RR) in different cities of Saudi Arabia.
Figure 1
A map of Saudi Arabia showing cities where camels were sampled together with the results of the seroprevalence of T. gondii and N. caninum from camels sampled.
Table 2
Results of seroprevalence of T. gondii and N. caninum in male and female camels from different regions in Saudi Arabia (M=Male; F=Female).

The overall antibody prevalence of N. caninum was 16.6%, with the highest prevalence being reported in serum samples from Jizan (35.9%); the lowest prevalence was found in samples from Taif (2.4%) ( Table 1 ; Figure 1 ). Antibodies against N. caninum were reported in 19 males and 14 females ( Table 2 ). The risk ratio of N. caninum prevalence is significantly higher in Jizan and Hofuf than in Riyadh, Tabuk, and Taif ( Table 1 ).

Males have significantly higher prevalence of T. gondii antibodies compared to those against N. caninum (p=0.0001), while the difference between the prevalence of antibodies against these two parasites in females was not significant (p=0.24). There was no significant difference between the prevalence of T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies among males and females (p=0.75 and p=0.22, respectively).

Concurrent detection of both T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies was also reported during the present study. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were detected in 18 camels which tested positive for antibodies against N. caninum too. Of those 12 were from Jizan, 3 from Tabuk, 2 from Hofuf and 1 from Taif.

Discussion

In the present study, a seroprevalence analysis of two cyst-forming coccidia ( T. gondii and N. caninum ) in the Dromedary camel ( Camelus dromedarius ) in different cities covering different regions in Saudi Arabia was performed. The seroprevalence of T. gondii was found to be 34.2%, while that of N. caninum was found to be 16.6%.

The seroprevalence of T. gondii was comparable to that reported in previous studies on camels from Saudi Arabia and its neighboring countries ( Hussein et al., 1988Hussein MF, Bakkar NM, Basmaeil SM, Gar el Nabi A. Prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Saudi Arabian camels ( Camelus dromedarius ). Vet Parasitol 1988; 28(1-2): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)90030-1. PMid:3388734.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)9...
; Hilali et al., 1998Hilali M, Romand S, Thulliez P, Kwok OCH, Dubey JP. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in sera from camels from Egypt. Vet Parasitol 1998; 75(2-3): 269-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)00181-7. PMid:9637230.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)...
; Wernery et al., 2008Wernery U, Thomas R, Raghavan R, Syriac G, Joseph S, Georgy N. Seroepidemiological studies for the detection of antibodies against 8 infectious diseases in dairy dromedaries of the United Arab Emirates using modern laboratory techniques – Part II. J Camel Pract Res 2008; 15(2): 139-145. ; Hosseininejad et al., 2010Hosseininejad M, Pirali-Kheirabadi K, Ebrahimi A, Hosseini F. Toxoplasma gondii infection in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ): A serologic assay in Iran. J Camel Pract Res 2010; 17(1): 35-36. ; Alanazi, 2011Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. ; 2013Alanazi AD. Determination of seropositivity for Toxoplasma gondii in sheep, goats and camels slaughtered for food and human consumptions in Riyadh municipal abattoirs, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2013; 43(3): 569-576. http://dx.doi.org/10.12816/0006414. PMid:24640857.
http://dx.doi.org/10.12816/0006414...
; Hamidinejat et al., 2013Hamidinejat H, Ghorbanpour M, Rasooli A, Nouri M, Hekmatimoghaddam S, Namavari MM, et al. Occurrence of anti- Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum antibodies in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in the center of Iran. Turk J Vet Anim Sci 2013; 37: 277-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34...
; Mentaberre et al., 2013Mentaberre G, Gutiérrez C, Rodríguez NF, Joseph S, González-Barrio D, Cabezón O, et al. A transversal study on antibodies against selected pathogens in dromedary camels in the Canary Islands, Spain. Vet Microbiol 2013; 167(3-4): 468-473. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.029. PMid:23992795.
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). Extremely high prevalence—as high as 90.9% (from Turkey) ( Utuk et al., 2012Utuk AE, Kirbas A, Babur C, Balkaya I. Detection of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies and some helminthic parasites in camels from Nevsehir province of Turkey. Isr J Vet Med 2012; 67(2): 106-108. ), 67% (from Butana plains, eastern Sudan) ( Elamin et al., 1992Elamin EA, Elias S, Daugschies A, Rommel M. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in pastoral camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in the Butana plains, mid-Eastern Sudan. Vet Parasitol 1992; 43(3-4): 171-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(92)90158-6. PMid:1413449.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(92)9...
) and 40.5% (from Fentale district, central Ethiopia) ( Gebremedhin et al., 2014Gebremedhin EZ, Yunus HA, Tesfamaryam G, Tessema TS, Dawo F, Terefe G, et al. First report of Toxoplasma gondii in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Ethiopia: bioassay and seroepidemiological investigation. BMC Vet Res 2014; 10(1): 222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-0222-7. PMid:25266944.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-022...
)—of T. gondii antibodies in camels have been reported. In our study, the difference in the prevalence of T. gondii antibodies between male and female camels was not significant and was in agreement with that reported in previous studies ( Elamin et al., 1992Elamin EA, Elias S, Daugschies A, Rommel M. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in pastoral camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in the Butana plains, mid-Eastern Sudan. Vet Parasitol 1992; 43(3-4): 171-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(92)90158-6. PMid:1413449.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(92)9...
; Wang et al., 2013Wang M, Wang YH, Meng P, Ye Q, Zhang DL. Toxoplasma gondii infection in Bactrian camel ( Camelus bactrianus ) in China. Vet Parasitol 2013; 192(1-3): 288-289. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.09.028. PMid:23084397.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2012....
; Gebremedhin et al., 2014Gebremedhin EZ, Yunus HA, Tesfamaryam G, Tessema TS, Dawo F, Terefe G, et al. First report of Toxoplasma gondii in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Ethiopia: bioassay and seroepidemiological investigation. BMC Vet Res 2014; 10(1): 222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-0222-7. PMid:25266944.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-022...
). However, this is in contrast with what has been reported earlier by Hussein et al. (1988)Hussein MF, Bakkar NM, Basmaeil SM, Gar el Nabi A. Prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Saudi Arabian camels ( Camelus dromedarius ). Vet Parasitol 1988; 28(1-2): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)90030-1. PMid:3388734.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)9...
, who detected significantly higher prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in female camels than in male camels; they attributed this difference to the husbandry practices. In most studies carried out on the prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in camels, it was found that old camels generally had a higher prevalence compared to younger camels ( Hussein et al., 1988Hussein MF, Bakkar NM, Basmaeil SM, Gar el Nabi A. Prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Saudi Arabian camels ( Camelus dromedarius ). Vet Parasitol 1988; 28(1-2): 175-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)90030-1. PMid:3388734.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(88)9...
; Gebremedhin et al., 2014Gebremedhin EZ, Yunus HA, Tesfamaryam G, Tessema TS, Dawo F, Terefe G, et al. First report of Toxoplasma gondii in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Ethiopia: bioassay and seroepidemiological investigation. BMC Vet Res 2014; 10(1): 222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-0222-7. PMid:25266944.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-014-022...
). Calves are also affected by the infection, but it was not certain whether they acquired the infection as a result of innocuous consumption of cysts arising from Felidae family members or as a result of vertical transmission from mothers such as that in the case of N. caninum in camels from the Canary Islands ( Mentaberre et al., 2013Mentaberre G, Gutiérrez C, Rodríguez NF, Joseph S, González-Barrio D, Cabezón O, et al. A transversal study on antibodies against selected pathogens in dromedary camels in the Canary Islands, Spain. Vet Microbiol 2013; 167(3-4): 468-473. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.029. PMid:23992795.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013....
).

There are three reports on the prevalence of N. caninum in animals in Saudi Arabia and two of them are about camels ( Alanazi, 2011Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. ; Alanazi et al., 2014Alanazi AD, Said AE, Alhussaini MS, Al-Mohammed HI. Seroepidemiological Studies of Neospora spp. Antibodies in Arabian Horses from Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia. Res J Parasitol 2014; 9(1): 11-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/jp.2014.11.15.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/jp.2014.11.15...
; Aljumaah et al., 2018Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
). In the present study, a prevalence of 16.6% was reported, while Alanazi (2011)Alanazi AD. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in sera from camels (Camelus dromedarius ) in Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 2011; 41(2): 245-250. PMid:21980764. and Aljumaah et al. (2018)Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
reported a prevalence of 5.6% and 21.99% from camels, respectively. Different studies on the seroprevalence of N. caninum in camels from other countries reported different rates and the highest (86%) was reported in camels from the Canary Islands, Spain ( Hilali et al., 1998Hilali M, Romand S, Thulliez P, Kwok OCH, Dubey JP. Prevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in sera from camels from Egypt. Vet Parasitol 1998; 75(2-3): 269-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)00181-7. PMid:9637230.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(97)...
; Sadrebazzaz et al., 2006Sadrebazzaz A, Haddadzadeh H, Shayan P. Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Mashhad, Iran. Parasitol Res 2006; 98(6): 600-601. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-0118-3. PMid:16425066.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-011...
; Wernery et al., 2008Wernery U, Thomas R, Raghavan R, Syriac G, Joseph S, Georgy N. Seroepidemiological studies for the detection of antibodies against 8 infectious diseases in dairy dromedaries of the United Arab Emirates using modern laboratory techniques – Part II. J Camel Pract Res 2008; 15(2): 139-145. ; Hosseininejad et al., 2010Hosseininejad M, Pirali-Kheirabadi K, Ebrahimi A, Hosseini F. Toxoplasma gondii infection in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ): A serologic assay in Iran. J Camel Pract Res 2010; 17(1): 35-36. ; Hamidinejat et al., 2013Hamidinejat H, Ghorbanpour M, Rasooli A, Nouri M, Hekmatimoghaddam S, Namavari MM, et al. Occurrence of anti- Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum antibodies in camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in the center of Iran. Turk J Vet Anim Sci 2013; 37: 277-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3906/sag-1207-34...
; Mentaberre et al., 2013Mentaberre G, Gutiérrez C, Rodríguez NF, Joseph S, González-Barrio D, Cabezón O, et al. A transversal study on antibodies against selected pathogens in dromedary camels in the Canary Islands, Spain. Vet Microbiol 2013; 167(3-4): 468-473. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.029. PMid:23992795.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013....
). Mentaberre et al. (2013)Mentaberre G, Gutiérrez C, Rodríguez NF, Joseph S, González-Barrio D, Cabezón O, et al. A transversal study on antibodies against selected pathogens in dromedary camels in the Canary Islands, Spain. Vet Microbiol 2013; 167(3-4): 468-473. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.029. PMid:23992795.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2013....
attributed the high prevalence of antibodies against N. caninum in camels from the Canary Islands to the absence of the definitive host in the surveyed farms, resulting in the vertical transmission of this parasite in camels, as has been reported earlier in cattle ( López-Gatius et al., 2004López-Gatius F, Lopez-Béjar M, Murugavel KG, Pabón M, Ferrer D, Almería S. Neospora -associated abortion episode over a 1-year period in a dairy herd in north-east Spain. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health 2004; 51(7): 348-352. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0450.2004.00779.x. PMid:15525363.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0450.20...
).

In the present study, camels from Taif city showed the highest prevalence of T. gondii antibodies and the lowest N. caninum antibodies. This could be attributed to the fact that cats, which are the definitive host for T. gondii , are more abundant than dogs in Taif. It is quite possible that the transmission of infection occurs via contamination of animal feed or water. The definitive hosts of both T. gondii and N. caninum were common in the areas where the camels were sampled. Dogs are kept as sentinel animals by shepherds while cats may contaminate camel feed and the infective oocysts may stay viable until the feed is eaten by the camels. Particularly in the Tabuk area, it was noticed that several dogs were in the vicinity where the samples were collected and some of the camel owners complained that they have had some animals aborting for no obvious reason.

Detection of antibodies to T. gondii or N. caninum from camels is dependent of the level of infection and the availability of the definitive hosts and obviously on the test utilized in the investigation. Most of the laboratory tests employed in serological surveys dealing with N. caninum were based on serological tests such as indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) or modified agglutination test (MAT). Only a few studies employed ELISA for the detection of antibodies, such as Wernery et al. (2008)Wernery U, Thomas R, Raghavan R, Syriac G, Joseph S, Georgy N. Seroepidemiological studies for the detection of antibodies against 8 infectious diseases in dairy dromedaries of the United Arab Emirates using modern laboratory techniques – Part II. J Camel Pract Res 2008; 15(2): 139-145. and Aljumaah et al. (2018)Aljumaah RS, Alshaikh MA, Jarelnabi A, Abdelrahman MM, Hussein MF. Serological Prevalence of Neospora caninum in Indigenous Dromedary Camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Zool 2018; 50(4): 1199-1203. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2018.50.4.1199.1203.
http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2...
. All three investigations, including the present study, where ELISA was used, have detected a high percentage of seropositive animals; this is likely due to the efficiency of the secondary antibodies used in the test. Andreotti et al. (2009)Andreotti R, Matos MFC, Gonçalves KN, Oshiro LM, Lima-Junior MSC, Paiva F, et al. Comparison of indirect ELISA based on recombinant protein NcSRS2 and IFAT for detection of Neospora caninum antibodies in sheep. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet 2009; 18(2): 19-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/rbpv.01802004. PMid:19602311.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/rbpv.01802004...
had reported that the specificity of the ELISA was 98.3% compared to that of IFAT when testing sheep serum samples. In the present study, detection of antibodies for both parasites in the same individual was not surprising, as the concurrent detection of both T. gondii and N. caninum antibodies has previously been reported in goats from the Czech Republic ( Bartova & Sedlak, 2012Bartova E, Sedlak K. Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum antibodies in goats in the Czech Republic. Vet Med 2012; 57(3): 111-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.17221/5850-VETMED
http://dx.doi.org/10.17221/5850-VETMED...
). It is possible that cross reactivity might have occurred in the samples positive for both parasites; however, the serological method used in the present study is highly specific and sensitive.

Consuming camel meat is common in Saudi Arabia and it is likely that undercooked meat might be a potential source of both, T. gondii and N. caninum infections in humans as a result of consuming camel meat, especially that of young camels. This inference was validated through the presence of viable cysts of T. gondii in non-infected cats, which were fed infected camel meat ( Hilali et al., 1995Hilali M, Fatani A, Al-Atiya S. Isolation of tissue cysts of Toxoplasma, Isospora, Hammondia and Sarcocystis from camel (Camelus dromedarius) meat in Saudi Arabia. Vet Parasitol 1995; 58(4): 353-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(94)00727-T. PMid:8533274.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(94)0...
). Dogs that were fed camel meat shed Hammondia heydorni and Sarcocystis cameli . However, the identification of H. heydorni based on the morphology of the oocysts was questionable and it could probably be mistaken for N. caninum , as the dimensions of the cysts of both parasites are quite similar ( Schares et al., 2005Schares G, Pantchev N, Barutzki D, Heydorn AO, Bauer C, Conraths FJ. Oocysts of Neospora caninum, Hammondia heydorni, Toxoplasma gondii and Hammondia hammondi in faeces collected from dogs in Germany. Int J Parasitol 2005; 35(14): 1525-1537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2005.08.008. PMid:16197949.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2005....
).

Transmission of T. gondii by male goats through semen has been experimentally demonstrated ( Dubey & Sharma, 1980Dubey JP, Sharma SP. Prolonged excretion of Toxoplasma gondii in semen of goats. Am J Vet Res 1980; 41(5): 794-795. PMid:7406300. ; Santana et al., 2010Santana LF, Costa AJ, Pieroni J, Lopes WDZ, Santos RS, Oliveira GP, et al. Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in the reproductive system of male goats. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet 2010; 19(3): 179-182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1984-29612010000300010. PMid:20943023.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1984-29612010...
). It is unknown whether a similar transmission can occur in camels. Artificial insemination is not practiced in camels and only the traditional method of mating is practiced; therefore, any infected camel could be a potential hazard to the females it mates with.

Antibodies against both N. caninum and T. gondii have been detected in camels from different cities in different regions of Saudi Arabia. There was no information regarding the disease situation of both T. gondii and N. caninum in cattle in Saudi Arabia. The role which may be played by camels and equine in the epidemiology of these diseases in cattle in Saudi Arabia cannot be underestimated ( Alanazi et al., 2014Alanazi AD, Said AE, Alhussaini MS, Al-Mohammed HI. Seroepidemiological Studies of Neospora spp. Antibodies in Arabian Horses from Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia. Res J Parasitol 2014; 9(1): 11-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/jp.2014.11.15.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/jp.2014.11.15...
).

Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at the King Saud University through Vice Deanship of Research Chairs. The authors thank the Deanship of Scientific Research and RSSU at King Saud University for their technical support.

  • How to cite:Mohammed OB, Amor N, Omer SA, Alagaili AN. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in Dromedary camels ( Camelus dromedarius ) from Saudi Arabia. Braz J Vet Parasitol 2020; 29(1): e019119. http://doi.org/10.1590/S1984-29612020008

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  • Wernery U, Thomas R, Raghavan R, Syriac G, Joseph S, Georgy N. Seroepidemiological studies for the detection of antibodies against 8 infectious diseases in dairy dromedaries of the United Arab Emirates using modern laboratory techniques – Part II. J Camel Pract Res 2008; 15(2): 139-145.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    30 Mar 2020
  • Date of issue
    2020

History

  • Received
    31 Oct 2019
  • Accepted
    21 Jan 2020
Colégio Brasileiro de Parasitologia Veterinária FCAV/UNESP - Departamento de Patologia Veterinária, Via de acesso Prof. Paulo Donato Castellane s/n, Zona Rural, , 14884-900 Jaboticabal - SP, Brasil, Fone: (16) 3209-7100 RAMAL 7934 - Jaboticabal - SP - Brazil
E-mail: cbpv_rbpv.fcav@unesp.br