Serological and Molecular Survey of Serious Intracellular Coccidia in Red Foxes in Eastern Slovakia

K. Reiterová 1 , S. Špilovská 1 , and A. Čobádiová 1
  • 1 Institute of Parasitology of the Slovak Academy of Science 040 01 Košice, Hlinkova 3 The Slovak Republic


We tested the sera or meat juices of 215 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), collected during 2009-2014 at different localities of Eastern Slovakia for the presence of anti- Toxoplasma and anti-Neospora antibodies. We also examined the brains or muscle tissues and uncoagulated blood samples for the presence of both parasite’s DNA. The mean seropositivity to T. gondii was 72.6% (95% Confidence Interval CI 66.1-78.4) and to N. caninum 33.9% (95% CI 27.7-40.7). We observed higher Toxoplasmaseropositivity in adults (71.1%) than in juveniles (60.0%). Neospora-seropositivity was almost the same in both age groups about of 30%. In general, we observed less frequently the DNA of parasites, T. gondii (14.5%) and N. caninum (20.3%) in the tissue samples and uncoagulated blood samples. Coccidioses are considerably common in red foxes and circulate in locations of Eastern Slovakia. The high infection rate in foxes is probably due to their infected prey. On the other hand, the contamination of the environment with oocysts and their subsequent transfer to other farm and wild animals is also possible.

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