Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2010
Publication Date: 12/30/2010
Citation: Al-Kappany, Y., Rajendran, C., Ferreira, L., Kwok, O.C., Abu-Elwafa, S., Hilali, M., Dubey, J.P. 2010. High prevalence of toxoplasmosis in cats from Egypt: isolation of viable Toxoplasma Gondii, tissue distribution, and isolate designation. Journal of Parasitology. 96:1115-1118. 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 study scientists document isolation of viable Toxoplasma from cats from Egypt. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Cats are important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the only hosts that excrete environmentally resistant oocysts in feces. In the present study, 158 feral cats from Giza, Egypt were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 97.4% with modified agglutination test. Viable T. gondii was isolated from tissues (brain, heart, tongue) of 115 of 137 cats by bioassay in mice. These isolates were designated TgCatEg 1-115; none of these isolates was virulent to out-bred Swiss Webster mice. Of the 112 seropositive cats whose tissues were bioassayed individually, T. gondii was isolated from the hearts of 83 (74.1%), tongues of 53 (47.3%), and brains of 36 (32.1%). Toxoplasma gondii oocysts were not detected in rectal contents of any of the 158 cats, probably related to high seropositivity (chronic infection) of cats surveyed. The high prevalence of T. gondii in feral cats in Egypt reported here indicates a high environmental contamination with oocysts.