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item Dubey, Jitender
item Lenhart, A
item Castillo, C
item Alvarez, L
item Marcet, P
item Sreekumar, C
item Lehmann, T

Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2005
Publication Date: 12/10/2005
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Lenhart, A., Castillo, C.E., Alvarez, L., Marcet, P., Sreekumar, C., Lehmann, T. 2005. Toxoplasma gondii infections in chickens from Venezuela: isolation, tissue distribution, and molecular characterization. Journal of Parasitology. 91:1332-1334.

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 Venezuela. These results will be of interest to public health workers, paasitologists and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in free-ranging chickens is a good indicator of the prevalence of T. gondii oocysts in the soil because chickens feed from the ground. The prevalence of T. gondii in 46 free-range chickens (Gallus domesticus) from Venezuela was determined. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies were found in 16 ( 32%) chickens with titers of 1:5 in 1, 1: 10 in 2, 1: 40 in 2, 1: 80 in 2, 1: 160 in 2, 1: 320 in 3, 1: 640 in 2, and 1: 1,280 or more in 2. Hearts, pectoral muscles, and brains of 13 chickens with MAT titers of 1:40 or more were bioassayed individually in mice. Tissues of each of 3 chickens with titers of 1:5 or 1:10 were pooled and bioassayed in mice. Tissues from the remaining 30 seronegative chickens were pooled and fed to 1, T. gondii-free cat. Feces of the cat were examined for oocysts; it did not shed oocysts. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from 12 of 13 chickens with MAT titers of 1:40 or more. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from pooled tissues of 1 of 2 chickens with titers of 1:10. Eight of these 13 isolates were virulent for mice. Genotyping of 13 of these isolates using the SAG2 locus indicated that 10 were Type III, and 3 were Type II. Phenotypically and genetically these isolates were different from T. gondii isolates from North America and Brazil. This is the first report of isolation of T. gondii from chickens from Venezuela.