ABSTRACT

The prevalence of anti–Toxoplasma gondii antibodies was investigated among 104 ratites: 68 rheas (Rhea americana), 16 emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), and 20 ostriches (Struthio camelus) in 4 Brazilian states. The prevalence in rheas was 26.5% (18 of 68), and titers were 1:100 (n = 8), 1:200 (n = 1), 1:400 (n = 4), 1:800 (n = 4), and 1:1,600 (n = 1). In emus, the prevalence was 50% (8 of 16), and titers were 1:50 (n = 1) and 1:100 (n = 7). The ostriches were slaughtered for human consumption, and 80% (16 of 20) were seropositive with titers of 1:200 (n = 1), 1:400 (n = 9), and 1:800 (n = 6). Sera were tested with a modified agglutination test, and the results confirmed the distribution of the parasite in ratite species from Brazil. The data obtained in this study show that T. gondii is prevalent among ratites from Brazil, and therefore ratite meat should also be considered a potential source of human infection. This is the first report of T. gondii seroprevalence in emus.

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