Dept. of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, SP, Av. Prof. Orlando Marques de Paiva, 87, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, SP CEP 05508-270, Brazil; Master's Program in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare, University of Santo Amaro, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]
Toxoplasmosis has been reported in many avian species, but little information is available from wild penguin populations. Leptospira can infects domestic and wild animals. Spheniscus magellanicus belong to the order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae, and are colonial birds. These seabirds live in temperate waters along the Atlantic shores of South America, and their total population has been estimated to be 1,300,000 breeding pairs. Magdalena Island (Chile) hosts an important breeding colony but, over recent decades, a marked decline in the number of birds has been seen. The objective of this study was to determine occurrences of antibodies against T. gondii and Leptospira spp. in penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) on Magdalena Island, from where no previous data on these agents were available. Serum samples were collected from 132 penguins on Magdalena Island. Antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii were detected using the modified agglutination test (Titer ≥20), and anti-Leptospira spp. antibodies were detected using the microscopic agglutination test (Titer ≥100). T. gondii antibodies were detected in 57 (43.18%) of the 132 serum samples, with titers that ranged from 20 to 320. None of the penguins in this study was reactive to anti-Leptospira spp. antibodies. This is the first report of T. gondii seropositivity in free-living Magellanic penguins in Chile.