Toxoplasma gondii infection in sheep from Haute-Vienne, France: seroprevalence and isolate genotyping by microsatellite analysis

Vet Parasitol. 2006 Dec 20;142(3-4):376-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2006.07.005. Epub 2006 Aug 21.


Ingesting meat of free-range livestock, mainly sheep, is associated with human toxoplasmosis in European countries. Data on Toxoplasma gondii infection in French ovine livestock are relatively scarce. Sera from 164 lambs and 93 ewes slaughtered in Haute-Vienne district, France, were tested by a direct agglutination test. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 36 (22.0%) lambs and in 61 (65.6%) ewes. In addition, to attempt parasite isolation for genotyping, hearts from 50 other ewes were obtained from a local slaughterhouse, and were screened by a direct agglutination test. T. gondii was isolated in 8 of 30 seropositive hearts bioassayed in mice. All isolates were type II by genetic characterization at five microsatellite loci (TUB2, TgM-A, W35, B17, B18). These results indicate that bovines slaughtered in France may be highly infected by T. gondii with a potential risk of parasite transmission to humans by consumption of undercooked meat. Multilocus microsatellite analysis shows the predominance of type II in sheep as previously described in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agglutination Tests / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Genotype
  • Heart / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / blood
  • Sheep Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sheep Diseases / parasitology
  • Toxoplasma / genetics*
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / blood
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / epidemiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / parasitology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan