Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, and is one of the most common zoonosis affecting a wide range of warm-blooded mammals and birds worldwide. Ground-feeding birds are considered important in the epidemiology of the parasite because they serve as indicators of soil contamination by oocysts. In the present study, 120 blood samples were collected from domestic pigeons in three Local Government Areas of Jos, Nigeria and evaluated for T. gondii antibodies using Toxo modified agglutination test (MAT). Serum samples with MAT titer of 1:64 and above were considered positive. Of the 120 samples analyzed 75 were positive for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies giving an overall prevalence of 62.5%. Seropositivity of the 3 Local Government Areas surveyed was found to be highest in Jos South 30/40(75.0%) followed by Jos East 25/40(62.5%) and Jos North 20/40(50.0%) (P=0.067). This is the first report of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in domestic pigeons in the area. This finding suggests that pigeons may play an important role in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in the area and highlights its significant public health implications because of the possible risk for human infection through consumption of undercooked pigeon meat.
Keywords: Toxoplasma gondii, IgG, Epidemiology, zoonoses, Ground- feeding birds, agglutination test