<OL> <LI> Develop and validate an ELISA, identify point sources of Toxoplasma infection on swine farms <LI> Validate good management practices for reducing risk of Toxoplasma infection in pigs <LI> Characaterize proteins from different stages of Toxoplasma which can be used for diagnostics and vaccines <LI> Describe the development of Toxoplasma in the cat gut <LI> Assess the role of poultry and cattle in risk of human exposure to Toxoplasma.
Recombinant antigens will be evaluated for their ability to detect Toxoplasma antibodies in pigs. Improvements in diagnostics wil be transferred to industry. Epidemiologic studies will be conducted in pigfarms to determine the source of infection for pigs. Strategies to reduce transmission including rodent control and cat vaccination will be tested on endemic farms. Proteins from sporozoites, tachyzoites, and bradyzoites will be characterized for their ability to differentiate source of infection and as potential vaccine for pigs. The development of Toxoplasma in cat gut will be studied to determine how best to develop immunity in feral cats. Because little is known of the incidence of Toxoplasma in other food animal species we will conduct prevalence studies in poultry and cattle. We will support farm certification efforts for Toxoplasma in cooperation with USDA regulatory agencies and pork producer groups.