© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Water-borne transmission may play an important role in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii. Mammals closely related to freshwater ecosystems, such as the American mink (Neovison vison), are potentially valuable sentinels for T. gondii. To assess the importance of freshwater ecosystems in T. gondii epidemiology, sera of 678 American minks collected during the 2010 to 2015 Spanish national eradication campaigns were tested for the presence of T. gondii antibodies using the modified agglutination test (MAT, cut-off 1:25). A high prevalence of samples, 78.8% (CI95%: 75.5–81.8), were seropositive. In addition, a specific real-time PCR was performed in 120 brain samples and the parasite DNA was detected in 9.2% (CI95%: 5.2–15.7). Significant differences in seroprevalence were detected among bioregions, with the highest levels detected in coastal areas, and by age. The higher seroprevalence observed in older animals (80.0% adults versus 68.7% juveniles) confirms the importance of the horizontal transmission. These results indicate a widespread presence of T. gondii oocysts in freshwater ecosystems from Spain and further support the importance of water-borne transmission in the epidemiology of T. gondii.
- American mink (Neovison vison)
- Toxoplasma gondii
- Wildlife disease