Abstract

Felids are important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts in their feces. Cats acquire T. gondii infection in nature by ingesting tissues of small mammals and birds. Serum samples of 223 feral marsupials and 174 feral rodents captured in 7 segments of the Atlantic Forest of the State of Pernambuco, northeastern region of Brazil, and in urban areas of the municipality of Recife were examined for antibodies to T. gondii by the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies (MAT ≥ 25) were found in 6.7% (15 of 223) of the marsupials and 5.7% (10 of 174) of the rodents. No association was observed between seropositivity in marsupials or rodents and sex, age, or different areas of collection (P > 0.05). This is the first study on the seroprevalence of T. gondii in marsupials and rodents performed in the Atlantic Forest of the northeastern region of Brazil. The presence of antibodies to T. gondii are reported for the first time in long-furred woolly mouse opossum (Micoureus demerarae), murine mouse opossum (Marmosa murina), brown four-eyed opossum (Metachirus nudicaudatus), and gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica).

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