Because soil contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts is increasingly recognized as a major source of infection for humans, in this study, we investigated the spatial pattern of soil contamination with T. gondii oocysts in urban area of northeastern Mainland China. From April 2014 to May 2015, more than 9000 soil samples were collected. Detection of T. gondii oocysts was performed applying real-time quantitative PCR. Sensitivity was improved by analyzing four replicates for each sampling point. T. gondii was detected in 30.3% of all samples. Subsequently, a maximum entropy model was used to evaluate the effect of land use and intrinsic soil properties on the risk of contamination with oocysts. Jackknife analysis revealed that the likelihood for positive results is significantly enhanced in soil originating from foci of human habitation, wood land and grass land. Furthermore, soil temperature and humidity significantly influence the probability of contamination with T. gondii oocysts. Our findings indicate that land use may affect distribution of T. gondii oocysts in urban areas.
Keywords: Land use; Maximum entropy model; Oocyst; Soil characteristics; Soil contamination; Toxoplasma gondii.
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