Prospective vaccine prepared from a new mutant of Toxoplasma gondii for use in cats

J. K. Frenkel From the Department of Pathology and Oncology (Frenkel, Fishback, Smith,) University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66103, and the Department of Microbiology (Pfefferkorn), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756.

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E. R. Pfefferkorn From the Department of Pathology and Oncology (Frenkel, Fishback, Smith,) University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66103, and the Department of Microbiology (Pfefferkorn), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756.

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D. D. Smith From the Department of Pathology and Oncology (Frenkel, Fishback, Smith,) University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66103, and the Department of Microbiology (Pfefferkorn), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756.

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J. L. Fishback From the Department of Pathology and Oncology (Frenkel, Fishback, Smith,) University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66103, and the Department of Microbiology (Pfefferkorn), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756.

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SUMMARY

Kittens are the principal disseminators of Toxoplasma gondii. They can shed > 108 oocysts in the feces after initial infection with bradyzoites in tissue cysts. Thereafter, most kittens develop protective immunity and do not shed oocysts again if they are reinfected. Bradyzoites of a T gondii mutant, designated T-263, were used to vaccinate kittens. Their use did not result in oocyst shedding, but successfully prevented 84% (31/37) of the kittens from shedding oocysts when challenge exposed with a normal isolate of T gondii. Vaccination of outdoor-roaming cats and kittens would be a useful public health measure to prevent transmission of toxoplasmosis near homes, on farms, and in zoos. It is anticipated that several years will be required for a lyophilized bradyzoite vaccine to be ready for licensing and possible commercial availability.

SUMMARY

Kittens are the principal disseminators of Toxoplasma gondii. They can shed > 108 oocysts in the feces after initial infection with bradyzoites in tissue cysts. Thereafter, most kittens develop protective immunity and do not shed oocysts again if they are reinfected. Bradyzoites of a T gondii mutant, designated T-263, were used to vaccinate kittens. Their use did not result in oocyst shedding, but successfully prevented 84% (31/37) of the kittens from shedding oocysts when challenge exposed with a normal isolate of T gondii. Vaccination of outdoor-roaming cats and kittens would be a useful public health measure to prevent transmission of toxoplasmosis near homes, on farms, and in zoos. It is anticipated that several years will be required for a lyophilized bradyzoite vaccine to be ready for licensing and possible commercial availability.

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