Abstract

Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in free-range chickens (Gallus domesticus) is a good indicator of the environmental contamination with oocysts because chickens become infected mainly by feeding from ground, feed, or soil contaminated with oocysts. The seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies in 125 free-range chickens from the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was determined. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test; 48 of 125 (38.4%) chickens were seropositive, with titers of 1:5 in 14, 1:10 in 12, 1:20 in 14, 1: 40 in 3, 1: 80 in 1, 1:160 in 1, 1:320 in 1, and ≥1:640 in 2 chickens. The hearts of 115 chickens were bioassayed for T. gondii infection. Hearts of 72 seronegative (modified agglutination test [MAT] < 1:5) chickens were pooled in 4 groups (20 + 18 + 19 + 15) and fed to 4 T. gondii-free cats; none of these 4 cats shed oocysts in their feces examined 3–21 days after feeding chicken tissues. Hearts of 43 seropositive chickens (MAT ≥ 1:5) were bioassayed individually in mice. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from only 1 chicken, with a MAT titer of 1:80. This isolate was designated TgCKEt1 and was not pathogenic for outbred mice. Restricted fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) genotyping using 10 loci indicated the TgCKEt1 was ToxoDB polymerase chain reaction-RFLP genotype #1 (Type II clonal). Results of this study indicate very low environmental contamination with T. gondii oocysts around Addis Ababa.

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