Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/2007
Publication Date: 2/1/2008
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Quirk, T., Pitt, J.A., Sundar, N., Velmurugan, G., Kwok, O.C., Leelair, D., Hill, R., Su, C. 2008. Isolation and genetic characterization of toxoplasma gondii from raccoons (Procyon lotor), cats (Felis domesticus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), black bear (Ursus americanus), and cougar (Puma concolor) from Canada. Journal of Parasitology. 9:42-45.
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.Toxoplasmosis causes mortality in many species of animals in the zoos, especially primates. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the University of Western Ontario, Canada report first isolation of Toxoplasma from skunks and raccoons from Canada. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Viable Toxoplasma gondii was isolated by bioassay in mice from tissues of 2 feral cats ( Felis domesticus), 2 raccoons (Procyon lotor), a skunk (Mephitis mephitis) trapped in remote locations in Manitoba, Canada, and a black bear (Ursus americanus ) from Kuujjuaq, northern Quebec, Canada. Genotyping of these T. gondii isolates using polymorphisms at 10 nuclear markers including SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and an apicoplast marker Apico revealed 4 genotypes. None of the isolates were clonal archetypal Types I, II, and III found in the USA. These results are in contrast with the Type II genotype that is widespread in domestic animals and humans throughout USA and Europe. This is the first genotyping of T. gondii isolates from this part of North America.