Systematic Review and Modelling of Age-Dependent Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Livestock, Wildlife and Felids in Europe
Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite of importance to both human and animal health. The parasite has various transmission routes, and the meat of infected animals appears to be a major source of human infections in Europe. We aimed to estimate T. gondii prevalence in a selection of animal host species. A systematic literature review resulting in 226 eligible publications was carried out, and serological data were analyzed using an age-dependent Bayesian hierarchical model to obtain estimates for the regional T. gondii seroprevalence in livestock, wildlife, and felids. Prevalence estimates varied between species, regions, indoor/outdoor rearing, and types of detection methods applied. The lowest estimated seroprevalence was observed for indoor-kept lagomorphs at 4.8% (95% CI: 1.8–7.5%) and the highest for outdoor-kept sheep at 63.3% (95% CI: 53.0–79.3%). Overall, T. gondii seroprevalence estimates were highest within Eastern Europe, whilst being lowest in Northern Europe. Prevalence data based on direct detection methods were scarce and were not modelled but rather directly summarized by species. The outcomes of the meta-analysis can be used to extrapolate data to areas with a lack of data and provide valuable inputs for future source attribution approaches aiming to estimate the relative contribution of different sources of T. gondii human infection.