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Int J Parasitol. 2003 Jan;33(1):97-103.

Molecular evidence for multiple Toxoplasma gondii infections in individual patients in England and Wales: public health implications.

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  • 1Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 88, Sackville Street, UK.


We sought to determine the SAG2 genotypes of Toxoplasma gondii associated with cases of acute human toxoplasmosis in England and Wales. The samples examined were collected from a wide range of cases including congenital infections, AIDS and immunosuppressed patients and were derived from a number of different tissues. Parasite DNA was detected by PCR amplification without the need for prior template purification, and SAG2 genotype was determined by both restriction enzyme analysis and direct DNA sequencing of the PCR amplification products. Parasites of both SAG2 type I and type II genotypes were seen with approximately equal frequency amongst the samples examined. Neither of these genotypes was found to be more frequently associated with a particular clinical presentation or sample tissue. Unexpectedly, we found clear evidence of mixed (SAG2 type I+type II) infections in approximately the same number of samples as were seen to be associated with either type I or II alone. Our use of direct DNA sequencing rather than simple restriction analysis was essential for the detection of mixed infections since incomplete restriction digestion of samples containing a single parasite type was occasionally observed. It is possible that the presence of more than one type of parasite in single samples might be related to our recent demonstration that mixtures of SAG2 type I and type II parasites are present in a significant proportion of commercial meat preparations. Moreover, the presence of mixed infections in single patients might offer a direct molecular method of assessing risk factors for infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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