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item Dubey, Jitender
item Navarro, I
item Graham, D
item Freire, R
item Prudencio, L
item Sreekumar, C
item Vianna, M
item Lehmann, T
item Dahl, E

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2003
Publication Date: 10/20/2003
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Navarro, I.T., Graham, D.H., Freire, R.L., Prudencio, L.B., Sreekumar, C., Vianna, M.C., Lehmann, T., Dahl, E. 2003. Characterization of toxoplasma gondii isolates from free range chickens from parana, brazil. Veterinary Parasitology 117:229-234.

Interpretive Summary: Infection by the single-celled parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is common in man and animals. Humans become infected by eating undercooked infected meat or ingesting the resistant stage of Toxoplasma (oocysts) in the environment. Infections in free range-range chickens is indicative of Toxoplasma infection in the environment because chickens feed from the ground. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, report isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii strains from free-range chickens from Parana, Brazil for the first time. These results will be of interest to public health workers, parasitologists and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in free range chickens is a good indicator of the prevalence of T. gondii oocysts in the environment because chickens feed from the ground. In the present study, prevalence of T. gondii in 40 free range chickens (Gallus domesticus) from a rural area surrounding Paraná, Brazil was assessed. Blood, heart, and brain from each chicken were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii, assayed with the modified agglutination test (MAT ' 1:5), were found in 16 chickens. Hearts and brains of seropositive (MAT '1:5) chickens were bioassayed in mice. Additionally, hearts and brains of seronegative (MAT <1:5) chickens were bioassayed in two T. gondii-free cats (12 chickens per cat). T. gondii was isolated from 13 of 16 (81%) seropositive chickens. Of the two cats fed tissues pooled form seronegative chickens, one shed T. gondii oocysts. Nine of the 13 T. gondii isolates killed 100% of infected mice. The T. gondii isolate from the cat was also virulent for mice. Genotyping of 10 chicken isolates of T. gondii using the SAG 2 locus indicated that seven isolates were type I and six were type III; three of these type III isolates killed all infected mice suggesting that all strains virulent for mice are not type I. The isolate from the feces of the cat fed chicken tissues was type I.