There is a lack of information concerning the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in wild birds in Mexico. In the present study, serum samples and tissues from 653 birds from Durango State, Mexico, were evaluated for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii (modified agglutination test, titer 1∶25 or higher) were found in 17 (2.6%) of the 653 birds, including 1 of 2 curve-billed thrashers (Toxostoma curvirostre), 2 (1 Anas platyrhynchos, 1 Anas diazi) of 4 ducks, 1 of 2 eagles (Aquila sp.), 5 (27.8%) of 18 great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus), 7 (1.3%) of 521 rock pigeons (Columba livia), and 1 (14.3%) of 7 quail (Coturnix coturnix). The seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in birds captured in a park outside the city zoo (11.6%, 8/69) was significantly higher than that found in birds from other regions (1.5%, 9/584, OR = 8.38; 95% CI: 2.82–24.77; P = 0.0001). Brains and hearts of 23 birds (17 seropositive, 6 seronegative) were bioassayed in mice for the isolation of T. gondii. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 1 of 7 seropositive pigeons. The DNA obtained from the T. gondii isolate from the pigeon was genotyped using the PCR-RFLP typing using 11 markers (B1, SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico) and revealed an atypical genotype. This is the first report of T. gondii infection in great-tailed grackles, the Mexican duck, and curved-billed thrashers and the first survey of wild birds in Mexico.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5