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, 115 viable T. gondii isolates from tissues of cats from Egypt were genotyped using 10 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism markers (SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico) and DNA from tachyzoites. Seven genotypes were recognized including the clonal Type II, Type III (2 genotypes), and 4 atypical genotypes. Ninety percent (103 of 115) of isolates were clonal, i.e., Type II (n = 61) and Type III (n = 42) strains. Of the 61 Type II strains, all had the Type II alleles at all loci, except for 2 strains that had allele I at Apico. Eight isolates were divided into 4 atypical genotypes. One of these genotypes (with 4 isolates) was previously reported in dogs from Sri Lanka and in sand cats from the United Arab Emirates. Four isolates had mixed infections. These results revealed a strong clonal population structure with the dominance of clonal Type II and III lineages of T. gondii in feral cats from Egypt.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6