[The occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum as regards meat hygiene].

Wyss, R; Sager, H; Müller, Norbert; Inderbitzin, F; König, M; Audigé, L; Gottstein, Bruno (2000). [The occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum as regards meat hygiene]. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde, 142(3), pp. 95-108. Huber

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Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum are phenotypically and phylogenetically closely related cyst-forming coccidia, both of which may cause abortion in livestock animals. T. gondii exhibits also zoonotic potential by causing diaplacental infections in the human fetus and harmful infections in immunosuppressed individuals. Humans get infected either by consuming inappropriately prepared cyst-containing meat or by ingesting oocysts originating from cat feces. Therefore, in order to assess infection risk we need to have knowledge on the prevalence of the parasite in consumable meat and thus slaughtered animals. So far, no data indicate any zoonotic potential for N. caninum. Due to its high economic impact in the bovine production in Switzerland, we included this parasite in the present study as well. The prevalence of both parasite species were investigated by PCR in muscle and brain samples of slaughtered bovines, sheep, pigs and horses. Comparatively, a serum sample from each animal was simultaneously tested serologically by a Toxoplasma-P30-ELISA and a Neospora-SA-ELISA. The prevalences determined by the T. gondii-PCR were the followings: adult cows 3%, young bulls 2%, young cows prior to gravidity 6%, calves 1%, sheep 6%, horses and pigs each 0%. For N. caninum, the PCR-prevalence was 2% for adult cows and 0% for all other animal groups. Conversely, the seroprevalences were much higher for both parasite species and all animal groups, with the exception of the fattening pigs. However, as T. gondii was principally detectable in bovine (cows and calves) as well as in sheep meat, the consumption of this meat harbours a potential infection risk for humans. In contrast, the lack of any parasite detectability in fattening pig and horse meat allows to consider this infection source as neglectable when compared to bovine and ovine meat.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Parasitology

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Norbert, Gottstein, Bruno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Bruno Gottstein

Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2018 10:37

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:16

PubMed ID:




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