Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii were determined in serum samples from 616 equids (454 horses, 80 mules and 82 donkeys) in a cross-sectional study of 420 herds in Andalusia (Southern Spain), the region with the highest number of equids in Spain. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 10.8% horses, 15.0% mules and 25.6% donkeys by using the modified agglutination test (MAT) at a cut-off of 1:25. Herd seroprevalence for horses, mules and donkeys was 14.7% (48/327), 23.9% (11/46) and 34.0% (16/47), respectively, and 75 herds (17.8%) had at least one seropositive animal. Significant differences in T. gondii seroprevalence were observed among species, with donkeys having the highest seroprevalence and horses the lowest (P=0.04). Seroprevalence was significantly higher in herds with presence of domestic ruminants. This study is the first report of the presence of T. gondii antibodies in equine species in Spain and the first reporting T. gondii infection in donkeys in Europe. The presence of antibodies is indication of contact with the parasite and therefore, consumption of equine meat could be a potential source of human infection in Spain. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
- Toxoplasma gondii