Toxoplasmosis and Cats in New Guinea

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  • Pacific Research Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Public Health, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Toxoplasma antibody was not detected in, or was found in less than 2% of, primitive New Guineans inhabiting areas where either felids had never been present or where domestic cats had been recently introduced but were still limited in number and distribution. However, Toxoplasma antibody was detected in 14% to 34% of New Guineans living in areas where cats were more numerous and had been present longer. In comparison, Toxoplasma antibody was detected in 50% of Nonama Indians, a primitive people living in the Pacific jungles of Colombia, who also had no domestic cats but who hunt and eat neotropical Felidae.