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Seroprevalence of Specific Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Brucella spp. in Sheep and Goats in Egypt

Toxoplasmosis, neosporosis, and brucellosis are devastating diseases causing infectious abortion and, therefore, substantial economic losses in farm animals. Toxoplasmosis and neosporosis are caused by the intracellular protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) and Neospora caninum (N. caninum), respectively. Brucellosis is a bacterial disease caused by numerous Brucella species in multiple hosts. Toxoplasmosis and brucellosis are also considered foodborne zoonotic diseases. In the current study, specific antibodies to T. gondii and N. caninum, in addition to those to Brucella spp., were detected to gain a better understanding of the epidemiological situation for these three pathogens. Sheep and goat sera from Egypt (n = 360) of animals with and without a history of abortion were tested using commercial ELISAs. Seropositivity rates of 46.1%, 11.9%, and 8.6% for T. gondii, N. caninum, and Brucella spp., respectively, were revealed. Mixed infections with T. gondii and Brucella spp. (4.4%), T. gondii and N. caninum (4.2%), N. caninum and Brucella spp. (1.4%), and even some triple infections (0.6%) have been observed. Animals with a history of abortion had a significantly higher seroprevalence for Brucella spp. infection than those without abortion (12.6%; 28/222 vs. 2.2%; 3/138) (p = 0.0005; Odds ratio = 1.9–21.8), while none of the other pathogens showed a similar effect. This result suggests brucellosis as a possible cause of abortion in the study population. However, the high seroprevalence for T. gondii and N. caninum revealed in our study warrants further investigations.



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