Toxoplasma gondii is a feline protozoan reported to cause morbidity and mortality in manatees and other marine mammals. Given the herbivorous nature of manatees, ingestion of oocysts from contaminated water or seagrass is presumed to be their primary mode of infection. The objectives of this study were to investigate oocyst contamination of seagrass beds in Puerto Rico and determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii in Antillean (Trichechus manatus manatus) and Florida (T. m. latirostris) manatees. Sera or plasma from Antillean (n = 5) and Florida (n = 351) manatees were tested for T. gondii antibodies using the modified agglutination test. No T. gondii DNA was detected via PCR in seagrass samples (n = 33) collected from Puerto Rico. Seroprevalence was 0%, suggesting a lower prevalence of T. gondii in these manatee populations than previously reported. This was the first study to investigate the potential oocyst contamination of the manatee diet, and similar studies are important for understanding the epidemiology of T. gondii in herbivorous marine mammals.
|Title||Investigating seagrass in Toxoplasma gondii transmission in Florida (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and Antillean (T. m. manatus) manatees|
|Authors||Heidi M. Wyrosdick, Richard W. Gerhold, Chunlei Su, Antonio A. Mignucci-Giannoni, Robert K. Bonde, Alycia Chapman, Carla Riviera-Perez, Jessica Martinez, Debra L. Miller|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Diseases of Aquatic Organisms|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|