Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Endemic avian toxoplasmosis on a farm in Illinois

Vet Parasitol. 2007 Jul 24; [Epub ahead of print]

Endemic avian toxoplasmosis on a farm in Illinois: Clinical disease, diagnosis, biologic and genetic characteristics of Toxoplasma gondii isolates from chickens (Gallus domesticus), and a goose (Anser anser)

Dubey JP, Webb DM, Sundar N, Velmurugan GV, Bandini LA, Kwok OC, Su C.

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Building 1001, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA.

Clinical toxoplasmosis in chickens (Gallus domesticus) has been rarely reported in literature. Here we report that three chickens on a farm in Illinois developed neurological signs. One of these chickens was examined postmortem and it had non-suppurative encephalitis with numerous Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites and tissue cysts. The identity of the protozoa was confirmed immunohistochemically by staining with T. gondii specific antibodies, and by transmission electron microscopy. The owner of the 3 chickens donated all 11 remaining chickens and a goose on his property for the present study. All 11 chickens and a goose were euthanized, and blood, heart, brain, and 1 leg were obtained for T. gondii examination. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in sera of all chickens with titers of 1:40 in one, 1:320 in three, and 1:640 or higher in seven chickens tested by the modified agglutination test (MAT). The goose had a MAT titer of 1:320. For isolation of T. gondii, whole heart and brain and 50g of leg muscles were digested in an acid-pepsin solution and bioassayed in four mice for each tissue. Viable T. gondii was isolated from tissues of all 11 chickens and the goose. Genotyping of these 12 T. gondii isolates using polymorphism at the genetic loci SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, a new SAG2 and Apico revealed that all isolates had Type II alleles at all loci, indicating these T. gondii isolates belong to the predominant clonal Type II lineages. This is the first report of isolation of viable T. gondii from a domestic goose (Anser anser).

PMID: 17656021 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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