Spatial distribution of Toxoplasma gondii in cows and associated risk factors
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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the spatial distribution of the prevalence of T. gondii in cows using the indirect immunofluorescence assay and determine associated risk factors. Serum samples were collected from 2970 cows on 263 rural farms in 223 municipalities. A questionnaire was administered to herd owners to collect data for the evaluation of risk factors associated with this disease. Mean seroprevalence of T. gondii in cows was 8.48% (95% CI: 7.48 to 9.49). The microregions with the greatest likelihood (p ≤ 0.05) of having infected animals were Anápolis, Ceres, São Miguel do Araguaia, the Federal District, Anicuns, and Vão do Paraná. The purchase of females or males for reproductive/breeding purposes was significantly associated (p ≤ 0.05) with the prevalence of T. gondii in these regions. A positive correlation (0.7618; p = 0.047) was found between the prevalence of T. gondii and total area in hectares of forests in these regions, suggesting that wild cats may be disseminating T. gondii at these sites. The present results highlight the importance of considering the meat from these animals to be an important infection route for humans who eat raw or undercooked food.