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Parasitol Res. 2010 Jan;106(2):457-61. doi: 10.1007/s00436-009-1686-4. Epub 2009 Nov 27.

Investigation of Neospora caninum, Hammondia sp., and Toxoplasma gondii in tissues from slaughtered beef cattle in Bahia, Brazil.

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Departamento de Patologia e Clínicas, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Escola de Medicina Veterinária, Avenida Ademar de Barros 500, Ondina, Salvador, Bahia 40170-110, Brazil.


Neospora caninum, Hammondia sp., and Toxoplasma gondii are parasites with morphological and genetic similarities. N. caninum and T. gondii are important abortive agents of cattle and sheep, respectively, and may infect numerous animal species. Hammondia sp. is not known to induce disease in animals, but may cause confusion in the identification of closely related coccidia. The aim of this study was to investigate infection rates caused by N. caninum, Hammondia sp., and T. gondii in beef cattle using a nested PCR for Toxoplasmatinae rDNA, followed by sequencing of the PCR products. Antibodies to N. caninum and T. gondii were also investigated in the tested animals. Brains and hearts were obtained from 100 beef cattle in a slaughterhouse in Bahia. Seven samples from brain tested positive for Toxoplasmatinae DNA. No positive reactions were found in heart tissues. After sequencing of the PCR products from all positive tissues, five sequences matched with N. caninum and two matched with T. gondii. Antibodies to N. caninum and T. gondii were found in 20% and 26% of the animals, respectively. The confirmation of N. caninum and the absence of Hammondia heydorni in the tested animals is suggestive that cattle are not efficient intermediate hosts of H. heydorni; however further studies need to be performed using a greater variety of tissues and a higher sample size. The detection of T. gondii DNA in bovine tissues reinforces the potential risk of transmission of this parasite to humans and other animals through the consumption of bovine meat.

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