Mapping, cluster detection and evaluation of risk factors of ovine toxoplasmosis in Southern Italy

  • Roberto Condoleo IZSLT, Institute for Experimental Veterinary Medicine of Latium and Tuscany, Rome, Italy.
  • Vincenzo Musella Department of Health Sciences, Magna Græcia University, Catanzaro, Italy.
  • Maria Paola Maurelli Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, Regional Centre for Monitoring of Infectious Diseases, Campania Region, Naples, Italy.
  • Antonio Bosco Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, Regional Centre for Monitoring of Infectious Diseases, Campania Region, Naples, Italy.
  • Giuseppe Cringoli Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, Regional Centre for Monitoring of Infectious Diseases, Campania Region, Naples, Italy.
  • Laura Rinaldi | lrinaldi@unina.it Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, Regional Centre for Monitoring of Infectious Diseases, Campania Region, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Toxoplasmosis, an important cause of reproductive failure in sheep, is responsible for significant economic losses to the ovine industry worldwide. Moreover, ovine meat contaminated by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is considered as a common source of infection for humans. The aim of this study was to develop point and risk profiling maps of T. gondii seroprevalence in sheep bred in Campania Region (Southern Italy) and analyse risk factors associated at the flock-level. We used serological data from a previous survey of 117 sheep flocks, while environmental and farm management information were obtained from an analysis based on geographical information systems and a questionnaire purveyance, respectively. An univariate Poisson regression model revealed that the type of farm production (milk and meat vs only meat) was the only independent variable associated with T. gondii positivity (P<0.02); the higher within-flock seroprevalence in milking herds suggests that milking practices might influence the spread of the infection on the farm. Neither environmental nor other management variables were significant. Since a majority of flocks were seasonally or permanently on pasture, the animals have a high exposure to infectious T. gondii oocysts, so the high within-flock seroprevalence might derive from this management factor. However, further studies are needed to better assess the actual epidemiological situation of toxoplasmosis in sheep and to clarify the factors that influence its presence and distribution.

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Published
2016-05-31
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Original Articles
Keywords:
Toxoplasma gondii, Sheep, Epidemiology, Geographical information systems, Italy
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How to Cite
Condoleo, R., Musella, V., Maurelli, M. P., Bosco, A., Cringoli, G., & Rinaldi, L. (2016). Mapping, cluster detection and evaluation of risk factors of ovine toxoplasmosis in Southern Italy. Geospatial Health, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2016.432