During 2005–2006, sera and tissues from raccoons (Procyon lotor), coyotes (Canis latrans), and skunks (Mephitis mephitis) from the state of Wisconsin were tested for Toxoplasma gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 32 of 54 (59.2%) raccoons, 18 of 35 (51.4%) coyotes, and 5 of 7 (71.4%) skunks using the modified agglutination test and a cut-off titer of 1:20. Pooled tissues (brains, hearts, and tongues) from 30 raccoons, 15 coyotes, and 1 skunk were bioassayed for T. gondii infection in mice or cats. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 5 of 30 (16.7%) raccoons, 6 of 15 (40.0%) coyotes, and the skunk. Genetic characterization of the 12 parasite isolates by multilocus PCR-RFLP markers revealed 6 different genotypes including 5 atypical and 1 archetypal II lineages. The results indicate the prevalence of T. gondii in wildlife mammals is high and that these animals may serve as an important reservoir for transmission of T. gondii.

You do not currently have access to this content.