Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in feral cats in Qatar
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Background: Cats are essential in the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii as they can shed the environmentally resistant oocysts after acquiring infection. Human populations living in cities with high densities of feral cats are therefore likely to be at risk of infection. The current study is the first to estimate the seroprevalence of T. gondii in the feral cat population in Qatar. We investigated the seroprevalence of T. gondii among 495 adult cats from urban and suburban districts in Qatar. Using results from the Modified Agglutination Test, we fitted statistical models with host sex, area and season as explanatory factors and seropositivity as the outcome. Results: The analysis revealed an overall seroprevalence of 82%. Seroprevalence was significantly higher in the summer season (P = 0.006). No significant difference was detected (P > 0.05) between seroprevalence in female and male cats and in cats from urban and suburban districts of Qatar. Conclusions: Despite the seasonal difference, the observed seroprevalence of T. gondii suggests high environmental contamination throughout the year, with some female cats generating more intense responses compared to males. Both findings merit further investigations.