Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that causes severe diseases in mammals, including humans, around the world. In China, pork is the main meat source; accordingly, T. gondii in pigs is considered an important source for human toxoplasmosis. Understanding the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in pig farms is thus important for control of the disease in humans. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the epizootiology of T. gondii infections in pig farms in central China by assessing the seroprevalence and risk factors of this disease. In the present study, 3,558 sera samples were collected from pigs in 37 large-scale pig farms in this region and tested by AG-ELISA. The total seroprevalence was 24.5%, with the greatest prevalence in breeding pigs. The risk factors for toxoplasmosis suggest that high frequency of the contact of pigs with cats (P ≤ 0.01; IC 95%), high density of pig breeding (P ≤ 0.01; IC 95%), the presence of mosquitoes and flies (P ≤ 0.01; IC 95%), semi-patency pens (P ≤ 0.05; IC 95%), and low frequency of scavenging (P ≤ 0.01; IC 95%) were all associated with seroprevalence. In addition, the use of sulfonamides (P ≤ 0.01; IC 95%) significantly decreased seroprevalence. This is the first report of anti–T. gondii antibodies in pigs on large-scale pig farms in central China. The findings will provide useful information for designing control strategies of toxoplasmasis in pig farms.

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