Folia Parasitologica, vol. 62 (2015)

Folia Parasitologica 62:043 (2015) | 10.14411/fp.2015.043

Seroprevalence of antibodies of Neospora spp. and Toxoplasma gondii in horses from southern Italy

Eva Bártová1, Tereza Machačová1, Kamil Sedlák2, Marie Budíková3, Ugo Mariani4, Vincenzo Veneziano5
1 Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic;
2 Department of Virology and Serology, State Veterinary Institute, Prague, Czech Republic;
3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic;
4 Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno, Portici, Napoli, Italy;
5 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples, Naples, Italy

The consumption of horse meat has been epidemiologically linked to clinical toxoplasmosis in humans and neosporosis that may cause clinical illness in horses. Here we determined seroprevalence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii Nicolle et Manceaux, 1908 and species of Neospora Dubey, Carpenter, Speer, Topper et Uggla, 1988 in horses from Italy. Blood samples were collected from 643 apparently healthy horses from 60 farms of 51 municipalities in southern Italy. The presence of antibodies against T. gondii and Neospora spp. were detected by indirect fluorescence antibody test (IFAT); a titre ≥ 50 was considered positive. The same sera were also tested for antibodies against Neospora spp. by a competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA); samples with ≥ 30% inhibition were considered positive. Antibodies against T. gondii and Neospora spp. were detected in 19 (3.0%) and 15 (2.3%) horses by IFAT, respectively, without statistical difference between gender, age and breeds (p-value ≥ 0.05). Antibodies against species of Neospora were detected in 70 (10.9%) horses by cELISA with statistical difference in gender (6.0-18.5%, p-value ≥ 0.05) and breeds (0-19.4%, p-value ≥ 0.05). Although T. gondii infection rates were low, the risk of human infection should not be dismissed, particularly in Italy where consumption of raw or undercooked horse meat has a long tradition.

Keywords: serological test, Equus caballus, risk factor, toxoplasmosis, neosporosis

Received: January 29, 2015; Accepted: June 4, 2015; Published online: July 6, 2015


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