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East-West divide: temperature and land cover drive spatial variation of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) from England and Wales

Smallbone, Willow, Chadwick, Elizabeth Anne, Francis, Janet, Edward, Guy, Perkins, Sarah, Sherrard-Smith, Eleanor and Cable, Joanne 2017. East-West divide: temperature and land cover drive spatial variation of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) from England and Wales. Parasitology 144 (11) , pp. 1433-1440. .1017/S0031182017000865

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Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii, a zoonotic parasite of global importance, infects all endothermic vertebrates, with extensive health implications. The prevalence of this parasite is seldom monitored in wildlife. Here, a semi-aquatic species, the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) was used as a model to assess the potential effect of climate, land cover and biotic factors on T. gondii seroprevalence in British wildlife. The Sabin–Feldman cytoplasm-modifying dye test identified T. gondii antibodies in 25·5% of blood samples from otters found dead, mainly as road kill, in England and Wales, between 2004 and 2010. Otters in the east of England were more likely to be infected with T. gondii than those in western regions. Land cover and temperature are key determinants of T. gondii infection risk, with more infection in arable areas and lower infection where temperatures are higher. The probability of T. gondii infection increased with host age, reflecting cumulative exposure with time, but there was no association between T. gondii seroprevalence and cause of host death.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords: landscape ecology, meteorological variation, spatial distribution, zoonosis, toxoplasmosis, otter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0031-1820
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 5 May 2017
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 00:22
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/100434

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