There is a lack of epidemiological data on Toxoplasma gondii infection in chickens in China. In the present study, serum samples from 160 free-range chickens and 450 caged chickens collected from Jinzhou, northeastern China were examined for T. gondii antibodies using a modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 30 of 160 free-range chickens (18.8%) and in 25 of 450 caged chickens (5.6%), with a significantly higher prevalence in free-range chickens (P < 0.01). In caged chickens, 8 of 100 breeders (8.0%), 15 of 190 layers (7.9%), and 2 of 160 broilers (1.3%) were positive, with the highest prevalence in breeders and layers (P < 0.05). No significant difference was found in comparing free-range chickens and caged chickens from different regions. The results of the present study indicated that infection with T. gondii in chickens, particularly in free-range chickens, is common in Jinzhou and that the meat from the poultry may be an important source for human infection by T. gondii.
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Vol. 98 • No. 6