Toxoplasma gondii antibody prevalence and two new genotypes of the parasite in endangered Hawaiian Geese (nene: Branta sandvicensis)

Journal of Wildlife Diseases
By: , and 

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Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite transmitted by domestic cats (Felis catus) that has historically caused mortality in native Hawaiian birds. To estimate how widespread exposure to the parasite is in nene (Hawaiian Geese, Branta sandvicensis), we did a serologic survey for T. gondii antibody and genetically characterized parasite DNA from the tissues of dead birds that had confirmed infections by immunohistochemistry. Of 94 geese sampled, prevalence on the island of Kauai, Maui, and Molokai was 21% (n=42), 23% (n=31), and 48% (n=21), respectively. Two new T. gondii genotypes were identified by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism from four geese, and these appeared segregated geographically. Exposure to T. gondii in wild nene is widespread and, while the parasite is not a major cause of death, it could have sublethal or behavioral effects. How to translate such information to implement effective ways to manage feral cats in Hawaii poses challenges.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Toxoplasma gondii antibody prevalence and two new genotypes of the parasite in endangered Hawaiian Geese (nene: Branta sandvicensis)
Series title Journal of Wildlife Diseases
DOI 10.7589/2015-09-235
Volume 52
Issue 2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Disease Association
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 5 p.
First page 253
Last page 257
Country United States
State Hawai'i
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N