Isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from chickens and ducks from Egypt

Vet Parasitol. 2003 May 30;114(2):89-95. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4017(03)00133-x.


The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in free range chickens is a good indicator of the prevalence of T. gondii oocysts in the environment because chickens feed from the ground. In the present study, prevalence of T. gondii in 121 free range chickens (Gallus domesticus) and 19 ducks (Anas sp.) from a rural area surrounding Giza, Egypt was assessed. Blood, heart, and brain from each animal were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii, assayed with the modified agglutination test (MAT), were found in 49 (40.4%) chickens in titers of 1:5 in 11, 1:10 in four, 1:20 in four, 1:40 in eight, 1:80 in 10, and 1:160 or more in 12 chickens. Antibodies were found in three ducks each with a titer of 1:80. Hearts and brains of seropositive (MAT > or = 1:5) chickens and ducks were bioassayed in mice. Additionally, hearts and brains of seronegative (MAT<1:5) animals were bioassayed in T. gondii-free cats. T. gondii was isolated from 19 of 49 seropositive chickens (one with a titer of 1:5, two with a titer of 1:20, one with a titer of 1:40, five with a titer of 1:80, three with a titer of 1:160, and seven with a titer of > or = 1:360). One cat fed tissues pooled from 15 seronegative chickens shed T. gondii oocysts, while two cats fed tissues of 34 seronegative chickens did not shed oocysts. T. gondii was isolated from one of the seropositive ducks by bioassay in mice. The two cats fed tissues from 16 seronegative ducks did not shed oocysts. Genotyping of 20 chicken isolates of T. gondii using the SAG 2 locus indicated that 17 isolates were type III and three were type II. The duck isolate of T. gondii was type III. The mice inoculated with tissue stages of all 21 isolates of T. gondii from chickens and ducks remained asymptomatic, indicating that phenotypically they were not type I because type I strains are lethal for mice. Infections with mixed genotypes were not found.

MeSH terms

  • Agglutination Tests / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Biological Assay / veterinary
  • Brain / parasitology
  • Cats
  • Chickens / parasitology*
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • Ducks / parasitology*
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Heart / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / parasitology
  • Prevalence
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Rural Health
  • Toxoplasma / genetics
  • Toxoplasma / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / epidemiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / parasitology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • surface antigen P22, Toxoplasma