Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers


An investigation into the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii, Bartonella spp., feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) in cats in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

N. TIAOa1, C. DARRINGTONa1, B. MOLLAa1, W. J. A. SAVILLEa1, G. TILAHUNa2, O. C. H. KWOKa3, W. A. GEBREYESa1, M. R. LAPPINa4, J. L. JONESa5 and J. P. DUBEYa3 c1

a1 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

a2 Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

a3 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Parasite Biology, Epidemiology and Systematics Laboratory, Beltsville, MD, USA

a4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

a5 Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA


Toxoplasma gondii and Bartonella spp. are zoonotic pathogens of cats. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) are immunosuppressive viruses of cats that can affect T. gondii oocyst shedding. In this study, the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii, Bartonella spp., FIV, as well as FeLV antigens were determined in sera from feral cats (Felis catus) from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Using the modified agglutination test, IgG antibodies to T. gondii were found in 41 (85·4%) of the 48 cats with titres of 1:25 in one, 1:50 in one, 1:200 in six, 1:400 in six, 1:800 in six, 1:1600 in eight, and 1:3200 in 13 cats. Toxoplasma gondii IgM antibodies were found in 11/46 cats tested by ELISA, suggesting recent infection. Antibodies to Bartonella spp. were found in five (11%) of 46 cats tested. Antibodies to FIV or FeLV antigen were not detected in any of the 41 cats tested. The results indicate a high prevalence of T. gondii and a low prevalence of Bartonella spp. infection in cats in Ethiopia.

(Received April 04 2012)

(Revised June 04 2012)

(Accepted July 11 2012)

(Online publication August 02 2012)

Key words

  • Bartonella ;
  • cats;
  • epidemiology;
  • Ethiopia;
  • humans;
  • Toxoplasma gondii


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr J. P. Dubey, APDL, ANRI, BARC, Building 1001, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. (Email: jitender.dubey@ars.usda.gov)