We investigated the presence of Toxoplasma gondii infections in Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Finland by analyzing samples from 337 lynx that were legally hunted during the 2010–2011 season and by performing a retrospective nationwide database search of postmortem toxoplasmosis diagnoses in this species. We detected specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies in 290 (86.1%) of the 337 lynx. The method used was a direct agglutination test, and samples positive at the used dilution 1:40 were defined as antibody positive. Older lynx had 14.3 times higher odds of being antibody-positive than did lynx of the presumed age of 7–10 mo, and lynx weighing >15 kg had 16.7 times higher odds of being antibody positive than did those ≤15 kg. Lynx from the southwest were more often antibody positive, with an odds ratio 6.3, than lynx from the northeast. None of the 332 fecal samples available was positive for the presence of T. gondii-like oocysts with a quantitative MgSO4 flotation technique, and none of the 167 free-ranging Eurasian lynx examined postmortem by veterinary pathologists from January 2000 to May 2010 had died from toxoplasmosis. Although Finnish lynx were confirmed to commonly encounter T. gondii, we found no evidence of an ongoing contribution to the environmental oocyst burden nor of the lynx dying from the infection.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3