The Prevalence of Toxoplasmosis in Wild and Domesticated Animals of the Memphis Region

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  • U. S. Public Health Service, Laboratory of Parasite Chemotherapy


A total of over 2,300 animals principally of 20 species of pet animals, domesticated animals, wild rodents and birds were studied by means of the dye test for toxoplasmosis or by parasitological methods or both. The findings were as follows:

  1. 1.Memphis cats were very frequently found infected with Toxoplasma judging by both the dye test and parasitological study. Rates were the highest for any species studied.
  2. 2.Dogs showed a significant number of serologic positives and infections were demonstrable infrequently.
  3. 3.Infections were also found in chickens, a pigeon and domesticated ducks but samples were insufficient to estimate general prevalence.
  4. 4.A single swine infection was found, but serological results indicated infection was fairly frequent. Serological results on cattle, horses, mules and sheep were presented but lack of experimental knowledge precluded interpretation.
  5. 5.Rats were found infected occasionally as were house mice. Six infected mice were found in a household in which a human case of toxoplasmosis had occurred.
  6. 6.No infections were found in wild rodents or wild birds nor was there serological evidence of infection except perhaps in cottontail rabbits.
  7. 7.The results of the study are discussed and evaluated as related to the epidemiology of the disease.

Author Notes

At the University of Tennessee, School of Medicine, 874 Union Avenue, Memphis 3, Tennessee.