Toxoplasma gondii infection in healthy animals is often asymptomatic. However, some species with little history of contact with the parasite, such as marsupials and New World primates, present high mortality rates after infection. Despite its potential conservation concern, T. gondii infection in insectivorous bats has received little attention, and its impact on bat populations’ health is unknown. To assess the putative role of insectivorous bats in the cycle of T. gondii, samples of three species of bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus, P. pygmaeus and P. kuhlii) collected between 2019 and 2021 in NE Spain were tested for the presence of the parasite using a qPCR. All tissues resulted negative (0.0% prevalence with 95% CI: [0.0–2.6]) for the presence of T. gondii. Unlike previous studies on insectivorous bats from Europe, Asia and America, the present study suggests that Pipistrellus spp. bats do not play a significant role in the epidemiology of T. gondii in NE Spain. Further studies are encouraged to elucidate both the epidemiology of T. gondii and its potential impact on the health of microchiropteran species in Europe.
- Toxoplasma gondii
- host–pathogen interactions