Submitted to: Zoonoses and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2009
Publication Date: 2/1/2010
Citation: Dubey, J.P. 2010. Toxoplasma gondii infections in chickens (Gallus domesticus): Prevalence, clinical disease, diagnosis, and public health significance. Zoonoses and Public Health. 57:60-73.
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. Chickens are important in the epidemiology of this parasite because infected feral chickens serve as source of infection for cats.A scientist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center summarizes information on T. gondii infection in chickens.. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Chickens are considered one of the most important hosts in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection because they are an efficient source of infection for cats that excrete the environmentally-resistant oocysts and because humans may become infected with this parasite after eating undercooked infected chicken meat. The objective of the present paper is to review worldwide prevalence of T. gondii infection in chickens and assess the role of infected chickens in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in humans. A very high prevalence of the parasite was found in chickens raised in back yards and free range organic establishments.