Prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in raccoons (Procyon lotor) from an urban area of northern Virginia
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are intermediate hosts for Toxo-plasma gondii, and clinical toxoplasmosis in raccoons has been reported. A 2-yr serological survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii in raccoons collected from Fairfax County, Virginia, a suburban/urban area outside Washington, D.C. Serum samples from 256 raccoons were examined for T. gondii antibodies at a 1:50 dilution using the modified direct agglutination test. Results indicated that 216 (84.4%) of the raccoons had been exposed to T. gondii. Our results indicate that raccoons in this area of Virginia are frequently exposed to T gondii. Domestic cats were common in the study area and may have served as a source of oocysts for raccoons and the food items of raccoons.