Investigation of Toxoplasma Gondii and Associated Risk Factors for Infection of Sheep and Goats in Kajiado County
Mungai, Eunice G
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Toxoplasma gondii has significant veterinary and public health importance globally. Infection in sheep and goats reduces their reproductive performance and may serve as a source of infection to humans leading to a life-threatening infection especially among the immunosuppressed individuals. In spite of this, Toxoplasma gondii in sheep and goats has not been expansively studied in Kenya. A cross- sectional study was conducted between the months of June and November 2019 in five selected wards in Kajiado County, Kenya. These included Kenyawa Poka, Ildamat, Iloodokilani, Matapato South and Kaputei North wards. The objective was to determine prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in sheep and goats using serological and molecular methods and to analyze risk factors for its occurrence and the potential exposure factors for human infection. A structured questionnaire was administered to 130 randomly selected pastoralists’ households whose sheep and goats were recruited in the study in order to collect data on variables such as flock sizes, source of water, presence of cats, reproductive history, neonatal mortality, type of production system, consumption of raw meat, milk and blood. A total of 1,464 serum samples from female animals; sheep (n=842) and goats (n=622) in 122 flocks, were tested for anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies using Indirect Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Furthermore, sero-positive samples were tested for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii DNA material in blood using conventional Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The data were entered in Microsoft excel® spreadsheet and analyzed using SPSS® statistical package version 25. The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii was 9.0% (76/842; 95% CI: 7.3-11.2) in sheep and 12.5% (78/622; 95% CI: 10.2-15.4) in goats. The prevalence was statistically different between the sheep and goats (95% CI: 0.003-0.068; P = 0.0337). Toxoplasma gondii DNA was detected in 88.96% (137/154; 95% CI: 83.0-93.0) of the seropositive sheep and goats................................................................................................
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