Neosporosis is an infection whose symptoms are similar to those of toxoplasmosis. The definitive hosts of Neospora caninum are dogs. This apicomplexan parasite infects production animals (cattle, horses, sheep, goats) but is especially present in cattle. For many reasons including:
- the similarity of symptoms with those caused by toxoplasmosis,
- the lack of standardised diagnostic tests,
- the absence of inter-geographical validation and homogeneity in terms of seropositivity threshold values,
it is difficult to obtain reliable epidemiological data relating to neosporosis.
The similarities of the latter with toxoplasmosis have long made its diagnosis difficult. However, its clinical consequences in dogs and the economic losses associated with infections of pregnant cows have been clearly identified today1.In fact, contrary to toxoplasmosis which only carries consequences during a primary infection, N. caninumis known to result in repeated abortions within a single infected animal. It is therefore crucial that heifers and cows be protected because the only truly effective preventive measure available at this time is the removal of seropositive subjects within a herd.
Its zoonotic potential remains uncertain even though anti-Neospora antibodies have been detected in humans.
1Dubey JP., Chares G. & Ortega-Mora LM. Epidemiology and Control of Neosporosis and Neospora caninum.
Clin. Microbiol. Rev. Apr. 2007, p. 323–367
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