Toxoplasma gondii is an important cosmopolitan opportunistic protozoan parasite, which threatens the health of human beings and animals. Genetic characterization of isolates from South America has revealed high genetic diversity. In contrast, isolates from North America and Europe were highly clonal, with 3 major lineages known as the Types I, II, and III. However, limited information on T. gondii genotypes has been reported in The People's Republic of China. Here we conducted a survey to determine genetic diversity of this parasite in wild birds of China. In total, tissues from breast muscle of 178 wild birds, including 98 common pheasants ( Phasianus colchicus ), 35 tree sparrows ( Passer montanus ), 22 house sparrows ( Passer domesticus ), 20 saxaul sparrows ( Passer ammodendri ), and 1 cinnamon sparrow ( Passer rutilans ), were tested for T. gondii infection, 4 of which were found to be positive for the T. gondii B1 gene by PCR amplification. These positive DNA samples were typed at 10 genetic markers, including 9 nuclear loci, i.e., SAG1, 5′- and 3′-SAG2, alternative SAG2, SAG3, GRA6, L358, PK1, c22-8, c29-2, and an apicoplast locus Apico. Of these, 3 isolates were genotyped with complete data for all loci, and 2 genotypes (Type I and Type II variant) were identified. This is the first report of genetic typing of T. gondii isolates from wild birds from different regions in China. The results suggest that the Type I and II variant strains are circulating in wild birds in China, and these birds are potential reservoirs for T. gondii transmission.
In the present investigation, the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in 455 Tibetan sheep in Tibet, China, was examined using an indirect hemagglutination test. Of these, 26 (5.7%) Tibetan sheep were seropositive at the cut-off of 1:64 serum dilution. The seroprevalence ranged from 2.2% to 8.9% among Tibetan sheep of <1-yr-old, 1–3-yr-old, and >3-yr-old, but the differences among the age groups were not significant ( P > 0.05). The prevalence in male Tibetan sheep (2.8%) was lower than that in female Tibetan sheep (6.6%), but the difference was not statistically significant ( P > 0.05). The results of this survey indicated the presence of T. gondii infection in Tibetan sheep, which may cause economic losses to the local livestock industry and which poses a potential threat to human health in this area.
Toxoplasma gondii is widely distributed in humans and other animals, including wild rats throughout the world, but little is known of the prevalence of T. gondii in rats in China. The seroprevalence of T. gondii in rats ( Rattus norvegicus and Rattus flavipectus ) was investigated in Guangzhou, southern China, between November 2009 and January 2010. In total, 217 rat serum samples were collected; antibodies to T. gondii were detected by the modified agglutination test (MAT), and 7 (3.2%) were found positive (titers ≥1:40). The seroprevalence was higher (3.4%) in R. norvegicus than in R. flavipectus (3.0%), but the difference was not statistically significant ( P > 0.05). All 7 positive rats were female; no T. gondii antibodies were detected in males. This is the first extensive survey of T. gondii infection in rats in southern China, and the results have public health implications in this region.