Toxoplasma gondii in small neotropical wild felids
AbstractIn the last decade, studies on wildlife worldwide have discovered key epidemiological aspects of the sylvatic cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. However, despite the known role of wild felines as definitive hosts in the transmission and maintenance of this parasite, few studies have focused on the involvement of these animals. Brazil exhibits the largest number of wild felid species in the Americas, all of which have a critical conservation status. However, serological detections, epidemiological studies and some molecular characterizations of T. gondii have primarily used Neotropical felid populations that are maintained in captivity, which does not reflect the disease behavior in free-living conditions. A systematic review of the worldwide scientific literature was conducted focusing on toxoplasmosis in small Neotropical felids. This review covered a number of aspects, including the state of scientific research, parasite transmission in the wild, the genetic characteristics of isolates, the relationship between these genetic characteristics and the pathogenicity of the parasite, and the risk factors linked to conflicts with humans. The present review shows the relevance of studying these felid populations based on their frequent interactions with humans in peri-urban areas and the need for further comprehensive studies to establish the real significance of T. gondii in public and animal health in tropical and temperate regions.
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