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Vet Parasitol. 2007 Apr 10;145(1-2):45-50. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in dogs from Colombia, South America and genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates.

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Building 1001, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA. jdubey@anri.barc.usda.gov


The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in 309 unwanted dogs from Bogotá, Colombia, South America was determined. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT) and found in 52 (16.8%) of 309 dogs with titers of 1:20 in 20, 1:40 in six, 1:80 in 17, 1:160 in three, 1:320 in three, 1:1280 or higher in three. Some organs obtained after necropsy of dogs (hearts, tongues and brains, either separately or pooled) were used in bioassays carried out in mice (37 samples, of which 20 were assayed with separate organs and 17 were assayed with pooled organs), cats (pooled organs from six) and pooled organs of two dogs both in mice and cat. Mice receiving dog tissues were examined for T. gondii infection. Feces of cats that received dog tissues were examined for oocyst shedding. In total, T. gondii was isolated from tissues of 20 dogs (16 by bioassays in mice, 3 by bioassay in cats and 1 by bioassay in mice and cat). All infected mice from 7 of 17 isolates bioassayed in this host died of toxoplasmosis during primary infection. Only 10 of the 20 dogs whose tissues were bioassayed separately induced infections in mice. Interestingly, dog organs varied in their capacity to induce T. gondii infection in mice, hearts and tongues producing more positive results than the brain. The 20 T. gondii isolates obtained from seropositive dogs were PCR-RFLP genotyped using polymorphisms at 10 nuclear markers including SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, a new SAG2 and an apicoplast marker Apico. Ten genotypes were revealed. These genotypes are different from the three predominant Types I, II and III lineages that are widely spread in North America and Europe. A new allele denoted u-3 at PK1 locus was identified in three isolates. This result supports previous findings that T. gondii population is highly diverse in Colombia.

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