Toxoplasma gondii is a protist in the subphylum Apicomplexa with a wide host range including birds and mammals. It is the causative agent of toxoplasmosis, one of the most important zoonoses worldwide. Aside from that, T. gondii has been identified as one of the three potentially most important foodborne parasites in Europe.
People can become infected Taking cysts T. gondii found in raw or undercooked meat and from ingestion of oocysts excreted in cat feces that have contaminated foods such as fruits, vegetables and water, and less commonly from congenital infections, inhalation of oocysts, consumption of raw milk, transfusions or even organ transplants.
The parasite’s multiple sources of infection and wide host range explain why T. gondii is so widespread all over the world. In people, T. gondii It can cause abortions and fetal malformations, the birth of congenitally infected children, and eye and neurological disorders.
Furthermore, the economic impact of toxoplasmosis on small ruminant populations due to reproductive problems is high and is likely underestimated. It is therefore considered a zoonosis that is widespread worldwide Fighting toxoplasmosis requires joint and coordinated collaboration between doctors and veterinarians as part of the One Health concept..
In this sense, the aim of a study carried out at the University of Murcia was to: a Systematic review and analysis of articles focusing on the serological diagnosis of infections T. gondii in humans as well as domestic and wild animals. Differences in the bibliometric characteristics, the inclusion of the One Health approach or the methodology used were examined.
To conduct the research, the authors searched for articles published between January 1, 2014 and September 5, 2022 that focused on the development and evaluation of serological techniques for diagnosing infections T. gondii in humans and animals. After a comprehensive search of three scientific databases, a quality assessment of 291 articles was conducted and 113 were ultimately selected.
To his surprise, “None of the studies included in the analysis specifically cited the words “One Health.” and only 23.9% of them referred to the principles underlying the One Health approach.”
In particular, they state that “none were conducted exclusively by medical teams and the majority of these studies involved interdisciplinary research teams, followed by veterinary researchers.”
Given this data, they believe that “the One Health approach to serodiagnosis T. gondii still requires greater integration between scientific disciplines, which is essential for developing effective control strategies.”.
WILDCATS IN THE TOXOPLASMA CYCLE
Proof of the importance of including the One Health approach in studies on this T. gondii was conducted at the University of British Columbia (UBC), which suggests that Free-roaming cats are likely responsible for the spread of the parasite to wildlife in densely populated urban areas.
The researchers, led by UBC assistant professor of forestry, Amy Wilson, examined 45,079 Cases of toxoplasmosis in wild mammals. With this in mind, they found that wild animals that live near densely populated urban areas are more likely to become infected.
“Given that increasing human density is associated with increasing domestic cat density, our study suggests that free-living domestic cats, whether pets or wild cats, are the most likely cause of these infections“ explains Wilson.
“This finding is significant because by simply restricting cats from roaming freely, we can reduce the impact of Toxoplasma on wildlife,” he adds.