Cats are important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the only hosts that excrete environmentally resistant oocysts in feces. In the present study, 158 feral cats from Giza, Egypt, were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 97.4% with the modified agglutination test. Viable T. gondii was isolated from tissues (brain, heart, tongue) of 115 of 137 cats by bioassay in mice. These isolates were designated TgCatEg 1–115; none of these isolates was virulent to out-bred Swiss Webster mice. Of the 112 seropositive cats whose tissues were bioassayed individually, T. gondii was isolated from the hearts of 83 (74.1%), tongues of 53 (47.3%), and brains of 36 (32.1%). Toxoplasma gondii oocysts were not detected in rectal contents of any of the 158 cats, probably related to high seropositivity (chronic infection) of cats surveyed. The high prevalence of T. gondii in feral cats in Egypt reported here indicates a high environmental contamination with oocysts.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6