Potential risk factors for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in finishing pigs on conventional farms in the Netherlands



Background The parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) causes a substantial human disease burden worldwide. Ingesting improperly cooked pork containing T. gondii is considered one of the major sources of human infection in Europe and North America. Consequently, control of T. gondii infections in pigs is warranted. The European Food Safety Authority advised to perform serological monitoring of pigs and to conduct farm audits for the presence of risk factors. Serological monitoring was implemented in several Dutch slaughterhouses, one to six blood samples (a total of 5134 samples) were taken from each delivery of finishing pigs and samples were tested for the presence of anti-T. gondii antibodies. Using these test results, a cross-sectional study was initiated to assess the association between the within-herd T. gondii seroprevalence and the presence of risk factors for T. gondii infections at 69 conventional finishing pig farms in the Netherlands. Results A multivariable model showed significant (P ≤ 0.05) association with twelve potential risk factors: type of farm, presence of dogs, presence of ruminants, use of boots, use of shower and farm clothing, mode of rodent control, bedding accessibility for rodents, presence of cats, type of drinking water, heating of the feed, use of goat whey and shielding of birds. Conclusions Serological monitoring of finishing pigs for T. gondii in slaughterhouses can be used to identify the presence of T. gondii risk factors on Dutch conventional finishing pig farms and seems a valuable tool to guide and monitor the control of T. gondii in pork production.
Date made available15 Jun 2022
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Temporal coverage2015 - 2019
Geographical coverageThe Netherlands


  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • pigs
  • risk factors
  • seroprevalence
  • cats

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