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Survey to determine the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in British sheep flocks
  1. J. P. Hutchinson, BVM&S, MVPH, MRCVS1,
  2. A. R. Wear, BSc, MSc1,
  3. S. L. Lambton, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD2,
  4. R. P. Smith, BSc2 and
  5. G. C. Pritchard, BVM&S, BSc, DVM&S, FRCVS3
  1. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) – Newcastle, Whitley Road, NE12 9SE, UK
  2. AHVLA – Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB, UK
  3. AHVLA – Bury St Edmunds, Rougham Hill, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 2RX, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence john.hutchinson{at}ahvla.gsi.gov.uk

A serological survey of Toxoplasma gondii infection in adult breeding sheep in Great Britain was conducted using surplus sera taken during a seroprevalence study of Brucella melitensis in 2009. Of the 3539 sera collected from 227 flocks, 2619 (74 per cent) were found to be positive for T gondii specific antibody when tested using latex agglutination. Multilevel logistic modelling suggested that the likelihood of infection increased with age and this effect appeared to be amplified in animals vaccinated against T gondii. The model also indicated that the odds of sheep being seropositive were increased on premises where cattle were also kept. These results suggest a high level of Toxoplasma infection in breeding sheep in Great Britain and provide further evidence to suggest that postnatal infection is more common than congenital infection in sheep.

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Footnotes

  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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