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Journal Articles Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology Year : 2020

Outbreak of Amazonian Toxoplasmosis: A One Health Investigation in a Remote Amerindian Community


Background: Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite of worldwide importance but its burden in indigenous communities remains unclear. In French Guiana, atypical strains of T. gondii originating from a complex rainforest cycle involving wild felids have been linked to severe infections in humans. These cases of Amazonian toxoplasmosis are sporadic and outbreaks are rarely described. We report on the investigation of an outbreak of acute toxoplasmosis in a remote Amerindian village. We discuss the causes and consequences of this emergence. Methods: In May 2017, during the rainy season and following an episode of flooding, four simultaneous cases of acute toxoplasmosis were serologically confirmed in two families living the village. Other non-diagnosed cases were then actively screened by a medical team along with epidemiological investigations. Inhabitants from nine households were tested for T. gondii antibodies and parasite DNA by PCR when appropriate. Samples of water, cat feces and cat rectal swabs, soil, and meat were tested for T. gondii DNA by PCR. Positive PCR samples with sufficient DNA amounts were genotyped using 15 microsatellite markers. Results: Between early May and early July 2017, out of 54 tested inhabitants, 20 cases were serologically confirmed. A fetus infected at gestational week 10 died but other cases were mild. Four patients tested positive for parasite DNA and two identical strains belonging to an atypical genotype could be isolated from unrelated patients. While domestic cats had recently appeared in the vicinity, most families drank water from unsafe sources. Parasite DNA was recovered from one water sample and nine soil samples. Three meat samples tested positive, including wild and industrial meat. Conclusions: The emergence of toxoplasmosis in such a community living in close contact with the Amazon rainforest is probably multifactorial. Sedentary settlements have been built in the last few decades without providing safe water sources, increasing the risk of parasite circulation in cases of dangerous new habits such as cat domestication. Public health actions should be implemented in these communities such as safe water supply, health recommendations, and epidemiological surveillance of acute toxoplasmosis. A “One Health” strategy of research involving medical anthropology, veterinary medicine, and public health needs to be pursued for a better understanding of the transmission routes and the emergence of this zoonosis.
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hal-02987218 , version 1 (03-11-2020)



Romain Blaizot, Cécile Nabet, Laure Laghoe, Benjamin Faivre, Sandie Escotte-Binet, et al.. Outbreak of Amazonian Toxoplasmosis: A One Health Investigation in a Remote Amerindian Community. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 2020, 10, ⟨10.3389/fcimb.2020.00401⟩. ⟨hal-02987218⟩
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