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Molecular Study of Toxoplasma gondii Isolates Originating from Humans and Organic Pigs in Belgium

Abstract : Toxoplasma gondii is a worldwide prevalent, zoonotic parasite of major importance for public health, which can infect any warm-blooded animal species, including humans. Humans can get infected by consumption of meat from a chronically infected animal, by ingestion of sporulated oocysts (resulting from the sexual replication in felids), via contaminated water, soil, or vegetables, and by vertical transmission via the placenta. Infection through meat consumption is estimated to be one of the main sources of human toxoplasmosis cases in developed countries, and more specifically pork is considered to be responsible for 41% of foodborne human toxoplasmosis cases in the United States. To better assess the role of pork as a source of T. gondii infection in humans in Belgium, parasites were isolated from pigs to compare with human clinical isolates in a molecular epidemiological study. A positive result was obtained by magnetic capture-quantitative polymerase chain reaction for T. gondii in 14 out of the 92 hearts sampled during 2016 and 2017 from pigs raised in organic farms. From 9 of these 14 samples, parasites were isolated by mouse bioassay, demonstrating the presence of viable T. gondii in animals intended for human consumption. When genotyped and compared with 15 human isolates obtained during 2015 and 2016, a highly related structured population was demonstrated. Overall, these findings demonstrate the presence of infectious T. gondii in pigs intended for human consumption. Therefore, a potential transmission of T. gondii strains from pigs to humans could occur. However, both species could also be infected via a common source of infection such as oocysts. Furthermore, Belgium does not have an official surveillance program for T. gondii in human cases or food-producing animals; as a consequence, the detection of the infection source of a patient is very rare. Overall, this study reinforces the identification of pork as a potential risk for the consumers.
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Soumis le : lundi 27 janvier 2020 - 16:04:50
Dernière modification le : samedi 26 mars 2022 - 04:24:21



Ignacio Gisbert Algaba, Bavo Verhaegen, Jean Benjamin Murat, Wim Coucke, Aurélien Mercier, et al.. Molecular Study of Toxoplasma gondii Isolates Originating from Humans and Organic Pigs in Belgium. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 2020, ⟨10.1089/fpd.2019.2675⟩. ⟨hal-02456832⟩



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