Suburban white-tailed deer seropositive for Toxoplasma gondii from Chicago, Illinois

  • Karmen M. Hollis-EtterEmail author
  • Christopher L. Anchor
  • James E. Chelsvig
  • J. P. Dubey
  • Richard E. Warner
Immunology and Host-Parasite Interactions - Original Paper


The presence and abundance of vertebrates influences the circulation of zoonotic diseases. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are widely distributed in North America and deer densities are frequently high in unhunted areas, including most major metropolitan regions. This study investigated the seroprevalence for Toxoplasma gondii from live-captured and culled deer sampled in two suburban forest preserves around Chicago, Illinois, from 1995 to 1999. Seroprevalence for T. gondii was 55.9% (n = 443) and was significantly higher at the northern study site, Des Plaines. Seroprevalence for T. gondii varied by year and month. Multivariate logistic regression (LR) screened main effect variables (age, sex, site, year, and month) by backward stepwise elimination. The final LR model for T. gondii contained all main effect variables. This study provides baseline data for future T. gondii suburban deer studies and information to public health and wildlife officials regarding the prevalence a parasitic pathogen present in two public forest preserves in Chicago, Illinois.


Prevalence Suburban Toxoplasma gondii White-tailed deer Illinois 



Thank you to D. Etter for reviewing the manuscript and to T. Van Deelen for sharing his statistical expertise. Special thanks goes to D. Antilitz, T. Anchor, R. Bartman, M. Ermer, B. Green, A. Kujawa, L. Kammin, R. Keough, N. Komar, S. Lavin, W. Luby, M. Narrish, J. Nevis, D. Parmer, M. F-Peters, J. Phillips, B. Piccolo, C. Pollock, C. Ryndak, S. Strack, R. Trakur, M. VanKast, and T. Weicherding for their outstanding assistance and extensive contributions in the field, office, laboratory, and political arenas.

Funding information

The research was funded by Cook County Animal Control, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

All procedures performed during this research involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and state where the study was conducted.

Data availability

The datasets generated for the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Michigan-FlintFlintUSA
  2. 2.Forest Preserve District of Cook CountyRiver ForestUSA
  3. 3.Animal Parasitic Diseases LaboratoryUnited States Department of AgricultureBeltsvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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