Toxoplasma gondii of warm-blooded animals and humans is an important pathogenic agent throughout the world. Soil is increasingly recognized as an important source in the transmission of Toxoplasma. To attain the contamination status of T. gondii in the soil of public parks, a total of 252 soil samples were collected from September 2009 to August 2010 at different sites located in 6 public parks of Wuhan, Hubei, China and detected by PCR and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The detection limit of PCR/B1, PCR/529 and LAMP was determined to be 50, 5, and 5 tachyzoites in soil, respectively. Forty-one samples were found positive for Toxoplasma DNA by PCR on both genes, whereas LAMP products were generated in 58 samples (χ(2)=3.6328, P=0.0567). All parks were found contaminated and no significant difference was found among the parks (PCR: χ(2)=0.0072, P=0.9325; LAMP: χ(2)=0.6101, P=0.4347). However, contamination was found with significantly different among the four seasons (PCR: χ(2)=11.6066, P=0.0007; LAMP: χ(2)=12.4636, P=0.0004), with a gradual decrease in the prevalence from spring to winter on both analyses. This is the first investigation on soil contamination of public parks in China by T. gondii oocysts. The results indicate that the soil of public parks contaminated with T. gondii oocysts may play a role in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis and effective preventive measures should be considered. Moreover, the conventional PCR and LAMP used in the present study are applicable to detect T. gondii oocysts in soil samples.
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