Toxoplasm and Wild Life
Pictured above: Allied Rock Wallaby Nelly Bay Breakwater Magnetic Island 2017. Photo Debbie Denison
Eating oocysts is not the only way in which the parasite can be transmitted. People and
animals can also become infected by eating the meat from an animal that has the parasite.
Food, particularly meat scraps left in gardens to encourage wildlife, is a common source of
Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife. In Perth, quenda taken to wildlife carers with neurological
disease due to infection with Toxoplasma gondii are most likely to be infected as a result of
eating household scraps, especially if these scraps contain raw or partly cooked meat.
Is this a problem for wildlife?
Toxoplasma gondii is common in wildlife, however large-scale die offs have not been
reported. Most cases of clinical disease in wildlife are in captive animals. There have been
increasing reports of infection with Toxoplasma gondii in quenda and other marsupials in
rehabilitation. The illness and added stress of being captive can cause deadly
toxoplasmosis. Reports of outbreaks of severe toxoplasmosis in captive animals have led to
a perception that this infectious disease is contributing to population decline in free-ranging
Did you know:
The most common source of infection with Toxoplasma gondii in people and cats is
raw or partly cooked meat.
Cats rarely have symptoms when infected, so you don’t know if your cat has been
Cats only spread Toxoplasma gondii in their faeces for a few weeks following
infection with the parasite. This stops by itself therefore it does not help to have your
cat's faeces tested for Toxoplasma gondii.
Find out more:
Pan, S., Thompson, R.C.A., Grigg M.E., Sundar N., and Lymbery, A.J. (2012) Western
Australian marsupials are multiply infected with genetically diverse strains of Toxoplasma
gondii. PLoS One 7: e45147.
About Healthy Wildlife
The ‘Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives’ – A One Health project aims to educate the public about
people’s interaction with wildlife in urban areas, particularly how people and domestic
animals spread diseases to wildlife, such as birds, quenda (bandicoots), native fish, bobtails
and kangaroos. The project informs people about how to avoid harm to wildlife, create
positive interactions with wildlife and protect and conserve the environment. The aim is to
keep wildlife healthy for a healthier world.
The project is a partnership between Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council and Murdoch
University, supported by Lotterywest.