Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most serious coccidian parasites, which infect human and nearly all warm-blooded animals. Domestic farm birds, which represent a good source of animal protein for humans, are subjected to such infection. Because pigeons and ducks get their feed from the soil, they are susceptible to being infected orally with Toxoplasma oocysts. Consequently, these birds may represent a public health problem for humans. Lack of information on T. gondii infection in pigeons and the insufficient data on its epidemiology in ducks were the main reasons to perform the present study. In the current study, four hundred and fifty-two blood and tissue samples were collected from 310 pigeons and 142 ducks from Asyut, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, and Giza provinces, Egypt. Specific antibodies for Toxoplasma gondii were determined using recombinant TgSAG2t specific surface antigen based ELISA. Histopathological and immunohistochemical (IHC) examinations were also performed. Overall Toxoplasma positivity was 13.55%, 1.61%, and 1.61% in pigeons and 10.56%, 2.11%, and 2.11% in ducks using ELISA, histopathology, and IHC, respectively. Statistically significant difference in the T. gondii prevalence was observed in relation to period of the year. No significant changes were recorded regarding the gender or age. The current study indicated soil contamination and observable Toxoplasma infection in pigeons and ducks, which could represent a major danger for human infection.
Keywords: Ducks; ELISA; Immunohistochemistry; Pigeons; Toxoplasma prevalence.
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