Toxoplasmosis has been reported in Nigeria using several diagnostic tools with high prevalence in humans and some food animals. Rodents have been recognised as vital intermediate hosts of Toxoplasma gondii. However, there is paucity of information on the occurrence of T. gondii in wild rats found in Nigeria. This study aimed at molecular detection of T. gondii in Zyzomys pedunculatus and to evaluate its involvement in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in Nigeria. A total of 84 rats were sampled across three states of the North Central Nigeria, and DNA was extracted from the brain, lungs, kidney and intestine of the rats for the detection of T. gondii DNA by nested PCR to amplify the multicopy B1 gene. Sixty-four of the 84 samples (76.2%) were positive for T. gondii out of which 5 samples were sequenced and had an identity score of between 97.73% and 99.35% with the reference B1 gene of T. gondii in GenBank. This study suggests Nigerian wild rats may be an important intermediate hosts of T. gondii and may play a role in the epidemiology and maintenance of T. gondii circulation in Nigeria.
Keywords: Nigeria; Prevalence; Toxoplasma gondii; Wild rats; Zyzomys pedunculatus.
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