Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/7/2009
Publication Date: 10/1/2009
Citation: Yan, C., Yue, C.L., Yuan, Z.G., He, Y., Yin, C.C., Lin, R.Q., Zhu, X.Q., Zhu, X.Q., Dubey, J.P. 2009. Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic ducks, free-range and caged chickens in southern China. Veterinary Parasitology. 165:337-340. 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. In the present paper, scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and from China report T. gondii infection in chickens and ducks from China. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is widely distributed in human and other animals including domestic poultry throughout the world, but little is known of the prevalence of T. gondii in chickens and ducks in People’s Republic of China. In the present study, antibodies to T. gondii were determined in 349 domestic ducks (Anas spp.), 361 free-range and 244 caged chickens (Gallus domesticus) raised in different commercial flocks in Southern China’s Guangdong Province using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies to T. gondii (MAT, 1:5–1:160) were found in 56 (16.1%) of 349 ducks, 41 (11.4%) of 361 free-range, and 10 (4.1%) of 244 caged chickens. The results indicate soil contamination due to T. gondii oocysts because free-range chickens feed from the ground, and suggest that the meat from the domestic poultry may be an important source for human infection by T. gondii in People’s Republic of China.