Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in an urban population of domestic cats (Felis catus). - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal for Parasitology Year : 2006

Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in an urban population of domestic cats (Felis catus).


Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and animal species worldwide. The relative importance of each potential transmission route in the complex life cycle of this coccidia is largely unknown, due to the lack of studies taking into account all routes simultaneously. In this study, we analyzed the transmission of T. gondii in an urban population of stray cats captured between 1993 and 2004. Analyzing prevalence, our aim was to determine which factors influence transmission in this population. Specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were detected using the modified agglutination test. Firstly, we analyzed the kinetics of antibody titers in cats captured several times, using mixed linear models and correspondence analysis. We showed that antibody titers did not vary significantly with time and that titer 40 was the best threshold to separate individuals into two serological groups. Overall, prevalence was only 18.6%, thus transmission of T. gondii is infrequent in this population. As expected, a highly significant association was detected between age and presence of IgG antibodies. Prevalence was lowest in kittens aged 3-4 months, suggesting that newborn kittens may carry maternal antibodies and that vertical transmission is rare. After taking into account the effect of age, logistic regression showed that antibody carriage was related to factors that possibly related to the survival of oocysts: localization in the study site, origin of the cats, maximal temperatures and rain. Our results suggest that in this population, vertical transmission is rare, low predation limits prevalence, and oocyst survival is a determining factor in the risk of infection. We discuss the more general importance of conditions determining oocyst survival in the life cycle of T. gondii.

Dates and versions

hal-00373510 , version 1 (06-04-2009)



Eve Afonso, Philippe Thulliez, Emmanuelle Gilot-Fromont. Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in an urban population of domestic cats (Felis catus).. International Journal for Parasitology, 2006, 36 (13), pp.1373-82. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpara.2006.07.010⟩. ⟨hal-00373510⟩
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