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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Dubey, Jitender
item Gomez, Jorge
item Bedoya, Angela
item Lora, Fabiana
item Vianna, M C B
item Hill, Dolores
item Kwok, Oliver
item Shen, Samuel
item Marcet, P
item Lehmann, T

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2005
Publication Date: 10/30/2005
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Gomez, J.E., Bedoya, A., Lora, F., Vianna, M., Hill, D.E., Kwok, O.C., Shen, S.K., Marcet, P.L., Lehmann, T. 2005. Genetic and biologic characteristics of toxoplasma gondii isolates in free-range chickens from Columbia, South America. Veterinary Parasitology. 134:67-72.

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 Colombia, South America report for the first time genetic characterization of Toxoplasma isolates from chickens from Colombia. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, 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 77 free-range chickens (Gallus domesticus) from Colombia, South America was determined. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT), and found in 32 (44.4 %) of 72 chickens with titers of 1:5 in 4, 1:10 in 3, 1:20 in 1, 1: 40 in 1, 1: 80 in 8, 1:160 in 8, 1:320 in 3, and 1: 640 or higher in 4. Hearts and brains of 31 seropositive chickens were pooled and bioassayed in mice. Tissues from 32 (16+16) seronegative chickens were pooled and fed to two, T. gondii-free cats, and tissues from nine chickens without matching sera were fed to one T. gondii-free cat. Feces of cats were examined for oocysts. T. gondii oocysts were excreted by a cat that was fed tissues of 16 seronegative chickens. T. gondii was isolated by bioassay in mice from 23 chickens with MAT titers of 1:20 or higher. All infected mice from 16 of the 23 isolates died of toxoplasmosis. Overall, 82 (81.1%) of 101 mice that became infected after inoculation with chicken tissues died of toxoplasmosis. Genotyping of these 24 isolates using polymorphisms at the SAG2 locus indicated that seven T. gondii isolates were Type I, 17 were Type III, and none was Type II. Phenotypically, T. gondii isolates from chickens from Colombia were similar to isolates from Brazil but different from the isolates from North America; most isolates from chickens from Brazil and Colombia were lethal for mice whereas isolates from North America did not kill inoculated mice. Genetically, none of the T. gondii isolates from Colombia and Brazil was SAG2 Type II, whereas most isolates from chickens from North America were Type II. This is the first report of genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates from Colombia, South America

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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