Cats are important in the natural epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii, because they are the only hosts that can excrete environmentally resistant oocysts. Cats are infected with T. gondii via predation on infected birds and rodents. During 2005, 238 rats (Rattus norvegicus) were trapped in Grenada, West Indies, and their sera along with tissue samples from their hearts and brains were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT, titer 1:40 or higher); only 2 (0.8%) of 238 rats were found to be infected. Brains and hearts of all rats were bioassayed in mice. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from the brain and the heart of only 1 rat, which had a MAT titer of 1:320. All of 5 mice inoculated with the heart tissue, and the 5 mice inoculated with the brain tissue of the infected rat remained asymptomatic, even though tissue cysts were found in their brains. Genetically, the isolates of T. gondii from the heart and the brain were identical and had genotype III by using the SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, and GRA6 gene markers. These data indicate that rats are not important in the natural history of T. gondii in Grenada.
Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in Grenada, West Indies
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J. P. Dubey, M. I. Bhaiyat, C. N L. Macpherson, C. de Allie, A. Chikweto, O. C H. Kwok, R. N. Sharma; Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in Grenada, West Indies. J Parasitol 1 October 2006; 92 (5): 1107–1108. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-902R.1
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