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Title: Toxoplasmosis in Caribbean islands: Seroprevalence in pregnant women in ten countries, and isolation and report of new genetic types of Toxoplasma gondii from dogs from St. Kitts, West Indies

item Dubey, Jitender
item VERMA, SHIV - Orise Fellow
item VILLENA, ISABELLE - Universite De Reims Champagne-Ardenne
item AUBERT, DOMINIQUE - Universite De Reims Champagne-Ardenne
item GEERS, REGINE - Universite De Reims Champagne-Ardenne
item SU, CHUNLEI - University Of Tennessee
item LEE, ELISE - Ross University
item FORDE, MARTIN - St George'S University
item KRECEK, ROSINA - Ross University

Submitted to: Parasitology Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/24/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Verma, S.K., Villena, I., Aubert, D., Geers, R., Su, C., Lee, E., Forde, M.S., Krecek, R. 2016. Toxoplasmosis in Caribbean islands: Seroprevalence in pregnant women in ten countries, and isolation and report of new genetic types of Toxoplasma gondii from dogs from St. Kitts, West Indies. Parasitology Research. 115:1627-34.

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 under cooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocyst. Why some people become ill and even die from toxoplasmosis whereas others remain asymptomatic is largely unknown. The genetic characteristics of T. gondii strains are considered a factor in the pathogenesis on clinical disease. Caribbean islands are surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and tourism and educational institutions contribute to the economies of these isolated islands. Illness in travelers returning from trips to these countries remains a public health concern. Little is known of toxoplasmosis in humans in Caribbean countries. In the present study, authors found that half of the pregnant women had been exposed to Toxoplasma and the environment was highly contaminated with the parasite. Genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates indicated that different genotypes were circulating in animals in West Indies. The results will be useful for parasitologists, biologists and epidemiologists.

Technical Abstract: Little is known of clinical toxoplasmosis in humans and animals in the Caribbean countries. We investigated the prevalence of IgG and IgMantibodies in 437 pregnant women from 10 English speaking Caribbean countries. Antibodies (IgG) to T. gondii (modified agglutination test, MAT, cut-off 1:6) were found in 174 (39.8%) of 437 human sera; 12 of 38 from Antigua-Barbuda, 26 of 52 from Belize, 9 of 50 from Bermuda, 29 of 49 from Dominica, 18 of 49 from Grenada, 16 of 47 from Jamaica, 5 of 15 from Montserrat, 8 of 44 from St. Kitts/Nevis, 24 of 45 from St Lucia, and 27 of 50 from St. Vincent/Grenadines were seropositive. IgG positive sera were tested for IgM antibodies using the immunocapture method; all were seronegative. Tissues and sera of 45 dogs from St. Kitts were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies (IgG, MAT, 1:=25) were found in 19 (42.2%) of 45 dogs. Muscle samples (heart, leg) of 19 seropositive dogs were digested in pepsin and homogenates were bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii were isolated from 6 dogs. T. gondii isolates were further propagated in cell culture. PCR-RFLP genotyping of cell culture derived tachyzoites using 10 genetic markers, SAG1, SAG2 (5’and 3’ SAG2, and alt.SAG2) SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico revealed that 4 isolates were ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotypes #2, and 2 were new genotypes #264, and #265. Review of 22 viable T. gondii isolates from Grenada and St. Kitts revealed that 1 isolate was Type II, 13 were Type III, and 8 were atypical. Thus, Type III strains were predominant. Overall, the study revealed high prevalence of T. gondii in the Caribbean islands.