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Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic and migrating birds from Mazandaran province, Northern Iran

Posted on 13. March, 2018.

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The zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii is widely prevalent in humans and most warm-blooded animals worldwide, and is found in almost one third of the human population. There are a variety of modes of transmission of the parasite to intermediate hosts.

Humans are mainly infected postnatally by consumption of undercooked or raw meat of birds or livestock containing infective tissue cysts, consuming food and drink contaminated with environmental oocysts and/or via accidental ingestion from the environment. Felids are the definitive hosts for T. gondii and play an important role in parasite transmission because they are the only species able to excrete resistant oocysts into the environment. Cats become infected with T. gondii by eating infected tissues from intermediate hosts such as birds and rodents. The bird’s role is more important than rodents as birds are clinically resistant to the parasite, they live longer and they may present as the principle source of human infection.

An investigation of T. gondii in birds could be an important indicator of soil contamination with sporulated oocysts due to the fact that they feed directly from the earth and their tissues are considered as a good source of infection. Studies on the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii in animals can be useful tools in the determination of exposure within a population. There are a variety of serological methods to examine animal exposure to T. gondii. The modified agglutination test (MAT) is often carried out as a test for the detection of infection in birds as it shows high sensitivity and specificity, and it is can be used in multiple species.

The present study aimed to estimate the prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in birds from Mazandaran province, Northern Iran, the region with the highest number of birds in the country.

Read the full article in Avian Biology Research, Volume 11, Number 1, February 2018, pp. 12-15.


Authors: Afsaneh Amoueia,b,c, Mehdi Sharifa,c, Seyed Abdollah Hosseinia,b,c, Shahabeddin Sarvia,c, Azadeh Mizania,b,c, Saeid Salehid, Shirzad Gholamic, Tahereh Jafar-Ramajie and Ahmad Daryania,c*
aToxoplasmosis Research Center, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Mazandaran 4847191971, Iran
bStudent Research Committee, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Mazandaran 4817844718, Iran
cDepartment of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Science, Sari, Mazandaran 481751665, Iran
dMazandaran Provincial Veterinary Department of Medical Sciences, Sari, Mazandaran 4814913759, Iran
eLaboratory of Shahid Rajaee Hospital, Tonkabon, Mazandaran 4681989888, Iran

Keywords: prevalence, Toxoplasma gondii, birds, Northern Iran

Image: T. gondii oocysts in fecal flotation. Photo by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.