The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in free-ranging chickens (Gallus domesticus) is a good indicator of the prevalence of T. gondii oocysts in the soil because chickens feed from the ground. In the present study, prevalence of T. gondii in chickens from Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Kenya is reported. The prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in sera of 50 free-range chickens from Congo was 50% based on the modified agglutination test (MAT); antibody titers were 1: 5 in 7, 1:10 in 7, 1:20 in 6, 1:40 in 1, and 1:160 or more in 4 chickens. Hearts, pectoral muscles, and brains of 11 chickens with titers of 1:20 or more were bioassayed individually in mice; T. gondii was isolated from 9, from the hearts of 9, brains of 3, and muscles of 3 chickens. Tissues of each of the 14 chickens with titers of 1:5 or 1:10 were pooled and bioassayed in mice; T. gondii was isolated from 1 chicken with a titer of 1:10. Tissues from the remaining 25 seronegative chickens were pooled and fed to 1 T. gondii–free cat. Feces of the cat were examined for oocysts, but none was seen. The results indicate that T. gondii localizes in the hearts more often than in other tissues of naturally infected chickens. Genotyping of these 10 isolates using the SAG2 locus indicated that 8 were isolates were type III, 1 was type II, and 1 was type I. Two isolates (1 type I and 1 type III) were virulent for mice. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated by mouse bioassay from a pool of brains and hearts of 5 of 48 chickens from Mali and 1 of 40 chickens from Burkina Faso; all 6 isolates were avirulent for mice. Genetically, 4 isolates were type III and 2 were type II. Sera were not available from chickens from Mali and Burkina Faso. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies (MAT 100 or more) were found in 4 of 30 chickens from Kenya, and T. gondii was isolated from the brain of 1 of 4 seropositive chickens; this strain was avirulent for mice and was type II. This is the first report on isolation and genotyping of T. gondii from any source from these 4 countries in Africa.
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