FIRST STUDY ON SEROPREVALENCE OF TOXOPLASMA GONDII AND HEMATOLOGICAL PROFILING IN LARGE FELIDS AND ASSOCIATED HUMAN SUBJECTS IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS OF PUNJAB, PAKISTAN

Main Article Content

Syed Waqas Hameed
Muhammad Avais
Jawaria Ali Khan
Kamran Ashraf

Keywords

Toxoplasma gondii, large felids, Zoological Gardens, Humans, Hematology, Punjab.

Abstract

This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in lions, tigers, leopards, and pumas kept in public and private zoological gardens along with human subjects associated with these gardens. One hundred and seventy-five samples collected from large felids were examined using the latex agglutination test (LAT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) while one hundred and fifty samples from human subjects were tested with LAT. Besides, hematological analysis of positive and negative samples from lions and humans was also done. The study estimated the overall prevalence of T. gondii as 21.1% and 29.7% in large felids using LAT and ELISA respectively. Whereas, the prevalence in human subjects was 31.3% using LAT. The overall prevalence was also different in public (10.2%) and private (14.4%) zoological gardens. The highest prevalence was lions followed by pumas and tigers, and no positive case was found in leopards. In human subjects, 32.1% of cases were found positive. The highest prevalence was found in supervisors (60%), followed by vets (40%), zoo keepers (32.8%), and meat vendors (20%). Moreover, the hematological analysis indicated that White Blood Cells (WBCs) count (22.2 ± 1.17), neutrophils (14.2 ± 0.75), and monocytes (3.25 ± 0.21) were significantly increased (p < 0.05) in T. gondii positive lions as compared to those found negative for T. gondii infection. The same trend was found in human subjects in which WBCs (16.7 ± 1.7), lymphocytes (61 ± 2.4), and eosinophils (7.40 ± 0.98) were found significantly (p < 0.05) increased in positive cases. The study investigated the association of the ABO blood group system with the occurrence of T. gondii infection and established significant (p < 0.05) association of B (43.6%), AB (42.8%), and A (34.2%) blood groups. These results highlight the necessity of comprehensive surveillance, preventive interventions, and additional studies to comprehend the epidemiology and dynamics of T. gondii transmission in populations of captive large cats and associated human populations in the zoological gardens of Punjab.

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