Evaluation of an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) for demonstration of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in the sea otter (Enhydra lutris)

M. A. Miller, Ian Gardner, A. Packham, Jonna A Mazet, K. D. Hanni, D. Jessup, J. Estes, R. Jameson, E. Dodd, B. C. Barr, Linda J Lowenstine, F. M. Gulland, Patricia A Conrad

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An indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) for detection of Toxoplasma gondii infection was validated using serum from 77 necropsied southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) whose T. gondii infection status was determined through immunohistochemistry and parasite isolation in cell culture. Twenty-eight otters (36%) were positive for T. gondii by immunohisto-chemistry or parasite isolation or both, whereas 49 (64%) were negative by both tests. At a cutoff of 1:320, combined values for IFAT sensitivity and specificity were maximized at 96.4 and 67.3%, respectively. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for the IFAT was 0.84. A titer of 1:320 was used as cutoff when screening serum collected from live-sampled sea otters from California (n = 80), Washington (n = 21), and Alaska (n = 65) for T. gondii infection. Thirty-six percent (29 out of 80) of California sea otters (E. lutris nereis) and 38% (8 out of 21) of Washington sea otters (E. lutris kenyoni) were seropositive for T. gondii, compared with 0% (0 out of 65) of Alaskan sea otters (E. lutris kenyoni).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology

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