Development of Toxoplasma Oocysts in Neotropical Felidae

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  • Department of Pathology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Middle America Research Unit and U.S. Army Medical Research Unit, Departamento de Parasitologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, Kansas City, Kansas 66103, Costa Rica

Toxoplasma gondii oocysts were isolated from the feces of one Felis yagouaroundi (jaguarundi) and two Felis pardalis (ocelot) which initially lacked antibody to Toxoplasma gondii, establishing that not only domestic cats, but other members of the family Felidae can spread Toxoplasma via their feces. These findings explain the reported occurrence of toxoplasmosis in jungle wildlife in the absence of a domestic cat population. A number of Felidae with positive antibody titers to Toxoplasma did not excrete Toxoplasma oocysts after being fed cysts of Toxoplasma. Members of the Procyonidae (raccoon family), Potos flavus, Nasua nasua, and Bassaricyon gabbii, failed to produce oocysts although they became infected and developed antibody to Toxoplasma.