Soil Survival of Toxoplasma Oocysts in Kansas and Costa Rica

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  • Department of Pathology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Departamento de Parasitología, Universidad de Costa Rica, Kansas City, Kansas 66103, Costa Rica

Toxoplasma oocysts in cat feces were marked with a tracer amount of strontium-85 (85-SR), and were superficially buried simulating the natural disposal of feces by cats. Oocyst infectivity in Costa Rica was followed qualitatively and persisted for 1 year in three shaded sites, two moist, and one relatively dry site. Oocyst infectivity was quantitated in the Kansas deposit over a period of 18 months, including two winters. After initial mixing in soil, the level of infectivity remained fairly stable. Infectivity was recovered, probably from the surface of one Musca, serveral isopods, and earthworms. These data on persistence of Toxoplasma oocysts in soil support the concept that Toxoplasma infectivity in nature may be increased logarithmically by cats.

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