Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2005
Publication Date: February 10, 2006
Citation: De Sousa, S., Ajzenberg, D., Canada, N., Freire, L., Correia Da Costa, J.M., Darde, M.L., Thulliez, P., Dubey, J.P. 2006. Biologic and molecular characterization of toxoplasma gondii isolates from pigs from Portugal. Veterinary Parasitology. 135:133-136.
Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts.
Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Univ. of Porto, Portugal report first survey of T. gondii infection in pigs in Portugal. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Little is known of Toxoplasma gondii infections in animals in Portugal. In the present paper, we report the first isolation of viable T. gondii from pigs in Portugal. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 52 (15.6 %) of 333 pigs prior slaughter using the modified agglutination test (MAT) at a serum dilution of 1:20. Attempts were made to isolate T. gondii from 37 seropositive pigs. Samples of brain and or heart from each pig were digested in acid pepsin, and bioassayed into mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 15 pigs. Restriction fragment length polymorphism on products of SAG2 locus amplified by PCR and microsatellite analysis revealed that 11 isolates were Type II and four were Type III. The results indicate that phenotypically and genetically T. gondii are similar to isolates from pigs from the U.S.