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Byline: S. H. Khan A. Maqbool A. Anees M. F. Qamar K. Ashraf and N. Ahmad


A study was carried out to determine the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in sheep and goats by using Latex agglutination test. Blood samples were taken from sheep (50) and goats (50) from slaughter house of Lahore and local sheep and goat farms. The serum was separated and analyzed for anti Toxoplasma antibodies. The animals were divided in three groups Group I included animals below one year Group II consisted of 1-4 years of age and Group III 4 years and above. The 8 and 6 percent overall seroprevalence were recorded in sheep and goats respectively. Age titer relationship in sheep showed that Group III had (12.5percent) Group II (7.6 percent) and Group I had no positive case. In goats Group III had (10 percent) Group II (5.7 percent) and no seropositive case in Group I could be recorded. The infection was higher in older animals than young ones.

Breed wise seroprevalence indicated that disease was recorded in 14.28 percent Kcchhi 8.33 percent Desi (none descript) and 0.00 percent in Lohi and Thali breeds respectively. In goats 11.11 percent 5.55 p ercent and 0.00 percent sero positivity cases were recorded in Teddy Desi (none descript) and Beetal goats respectively.

Key words: Seroprevalence Toxoplasma gondii Sheep and Goats


Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by Toxoplasma gondiithat is an intestinal coccidium having a variety of intermediate hosts. Sheep Goats Pigs Cattle and Humen were more prone to infection. The parasite was discovered first time in a rodent by Nicolle and Manceavx in 1908 (Altinoz et al. 2007) the gondii (Ctenodactylusgondii) (Omar and Khoo 1999). Agnaga et al. (1981) have reported the presence of antibodies in food producing animals. Cat is the only host in which the organism undergoes sexual reproduction with in the intestine. Intermediate hosts often become infected by taking contaminated meat from sheep that also contacted through placentary route or congenitally (Pepin et al. 1997). After ingestion by any host the coccidium escape from its cyst and penetrate the intestinal wall and emerge there as sporozoites. In an immuno competent individual the organism will encyst itself in the brain muscle and eye as a bradyzoite (Burney 1996).

However if the host becomes immuno suppressed the parasite may reactivate.

Toxplasmosis in sheep and goats cause abortion weak kids still birth birth defects and mummification of fetuses in pregnant does and ewes. Milk and meat from goats infected by T. gondii are an important source of contamination to human beings. This factor must be considered seriously as the disease control is linked to public health and increased consumption of goat milkin Pakistan. The infection of milk by T. gondii had been reported by Chiari and Neves (1984) in goats. Another study reported that in humans there was a close association between intake of goat milk and positive serology for T. gondii (Chiariet al. 1987). As toxoplasmosis had been established a high risk of public health disease through ingestion of contaminated milk and meat Therefore present study was designed to understand the relation of disease with breed age and sex of sheep and goats.


Sample Collection: A total of 100 serum samples were collected (50 sheep and 50goats) and analyzed for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies in sheep and goats. Age and breed history of sheep and goats were noted in prescribed Performa. The experimental animals were divided into three age groups under one year (Group I) 1 year to 4 years (Group II) and 4 year and above (Group III). The samples were collected from slaughter house of Lahore and local goat farms. The goats were divided into three groups; Group I comprised of goats below 1 year; Group II from 1year to 4 years and Group III consisted of goats from 4 years and above.

6-8 ml of blood under aseptic measures was withdrawn slowly by disposable syringes and then transferred to a screw capped clean test tubes slowly to avoid haemolysis (Benjamin 1985). All the test tubes were labeled with number and date of collection.

1. Separation of serum: The samples were allowed to clot for one hour then separated with a fine loop and were centrifuged for 5 minutes at 3500 rpm. The supernatant was transferred to clean conical test tubes and stored for further process and analysis. (Samaha et al. 1993)

2. Serum samples analysis: The collected samples were analyzed using Latex Agglutination (LA) test for specific Ig G Toxoplasma antibodies.

3. Interpretation of results:

4. The interpretation was as under

a) 1:16 sera noimmunity i.e; Negative

) 1:16 sera non-specific or residual immunity.


c) 1:32 to 1:128 evolving or acquired immunity.

Positive titer

d) 1:256 indicated recent contact. Positive titer

Statistical analysis: Statistical analyses were done with the SPSS for Windows (Version 12.0).


Toxoplasmosis in Sheep: The prevalence of anti- Toxoplasma antibodies overall in sheep was recorded as 8 percent. Near similar results were recorded by Pandey et al. (1992) in Zimbabwe Seinenke (1996) Mainar and Vazqeus (1998) in Madrid region Spain recorded the same findings as in the present study. However higher seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis were recorded by Hashemi (1996) in Iran and Gondim et al. (1999) in Brazil. These variations in the seroprevalence may be due to different managemental and environmental conditions in various geographical areas.

The age Group III had the highest seropositive percentage of 12.5 percent followed by Group II which was 7.6percent and there was no positive case in Group I. (Table. I) As far as antibody titer is concerned 3 sheep showed antibody titer at screening dilution of 1:16 one sheep gave antibody titer of 1:128 and no one were positive at screening dilution of 1:256.

Table-1 Anti toxoplasma antibodies in sheep in relation to their age

Age group###No. tested###Anti body titer Seropositive percent


###16###128 256

Group I###3###0###0###0###0###0

Group II###39###2###1###0###3###7.6

Group III###8###1###0###0###1###12.5


Breed titer relationship was compared among 4 samples from Lohi 7 samples from Kachhi 3 from Thali and 36 from none descript or desi breeds of sheep. Amongst the breeds Kachhi had the highest seropositive percentage as 14.28 followed by Desi breed having 8.33percent seropositive where as Lohi and Thali had no positive sample. The seropositive percentage was 8percent overall in sheep in and around Lahore.

Toxoplasmosis in Goats: In the goats prevalence of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies overall was recorded as 6percent. Mainardi et al.( 2003) in Barazil Gondim et al. (1999) in Barazil Amin and Morsy (1997) in Saudi Arabia Hashmi (1996) in Iran and Samad et al. (1993) in Bangladesh recorded high seroprevalence than the present study. This may be due to different managemental and geographical conditions. The other factor for this low seroprevalence may be the small sample size which is 50 in the present study so it is difficult to estimate the correct seroprevalence in this size of sample. Contamination of feed by faeces of cat flies and cockroaches carry oocysts and intimate association of goats with pets are the additional epidemiological factors in positive serology.

The Group III (4 years and above) had the highest seropositive percentage (10percent) followed by the Group II (1-4 years) having 5.7percent seropositive percentage. While the goats of Group I had no positive case (Table 2). According to antibody titer 2 goats showed antibody titer at screening dilution of 1:16 one goat showed antibody titer at 1:128 and no one showed antibody titer at screening dilution of 1:256. For the breed titer relationship 5 samples from Beetal 9 from Teddy and 36 from Desi or local breeds were collected and screened for anti Toxoplasma antibodies at different screening dilutions. Amongst the breeds Teddy goats showed the highest seropositive percentage of 11.11 percent followed by Desi having 5.55 percent seropositive while Beetal had no positive case. The seropositive percentage overall in goats for anti Toxoplasma antibodies in goats was 6percent.

Age titer relationship was compared in the sheep as: over 4 years had more seropositive percentage (12.5percent) than animals between 2-4 years (7.6percent) and below one year (0 percent ). The present study correlate with the observations of Panday et al. (1992) and Aktaset al. (2000) in Malatya which shows that the infection is more prevalent in adults than the young ones. Among 50 sheep examined 3 gave anti body titer of 1: 16 which indicated residual or non specific immunity; one showed antibody titer of 1:128 which was due to acquired or evolving immunity whereas no sheep was positive at antibody titer of 1:256 which suggest no recent contact with parasite.

The seroprevalence of T. gondii in goats varied with different age groups. The highest percentage of seropositivity (10percent) was found in Group III followed by Group II (5.71percent) and no seropositive case recorded in Group I. The study revealed that the prevalence of antibodies increased with age. These findings are in concomitant with the results of Opel et al. (1991) who recorded 7percent seroprevalence in kids and 23percent in yearlings and 37 percent in adults. Nieto and Melendez 1998 in Venezuela recorded no seropositive case in 1 year age group however 26 out of 386 in four years old goats were positive.

Among 50 goats examined 2 gave an antibody titer of 1: 16 which indicated residual or nonspecific immunity; one showed antibody titer of 1:128 which is due to acquired or evolving immunity whereas no goat was positive at antibody titer of 1:256 which suggests absence of recent contact with parasite.

Table-2. Anti-toxoplasma antibodies in goats in relation to their age

Age group###No. tested###Anti body titer Seropositive percent


###16###128 256

Group I###5###0###0###0###0###0

Group II###35###1###1###0###2###5.71

Group III###10###1###0###0###1###10



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Publication:Pakistan Journal of Science
Date:Mar 31, 2015

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