Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in Backyard and Roaming Pigs: Implications for Pork Consumption
Toxoplasma gondii, the etiologic agent of Toxoplasmosis, can be transmitted to pigs through the ingestion of oocysts, and to humans through consumption of pork containing viable cysts causing neonatal deaths and abortion in animals, and opportunistic infections in immunocompromised humans. The objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence of antibodies to T. gondii in backyard and Roaming pigs slaughtered for human consumption in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria. Serum samples were collected from 100 pigs and tested for the presence of T. gondii-specific IgG antibodies using a commercially available ELISA kit. The overall frequency of IgG antibodies to T. gondii was 25%. More antibodies were detected in exotic breeds (31.5%) than the local breed (20%), and in pigs raised under the free-range (35.7%) than backyard (20.8%) management systems. The result of this study showed that pigs raised either as backyard or free-range stock are exposed to T. gondii infection, and suggests that the consumption of pork from both sources may be a risk factor for human infection with T. gondii.
Keywords: Toxoplasmosis; Toxoplasma gondii; Roaming Pigs; Backyard Pigs; Pork