Humans can become infected by Toxoplasma gondii oocysts released in the environment along with felid feces through the accidental ingestion of contaminated raw meat, water, fruits and vegetables, or through direct contact with contaminated soil. Documenting the extent of soil contamination by T. gondii oocysts is necessary to prevent infection caused by this protozoan. The aim of our study is to determine the occurrence of T. gondii oocysts in urban soil in Marrakesh, Morocco. A total of 42 soil samples were collected from 9 sites in the urban area of Marrakesh. Oocysts were extracted by the flotation method, and detected by microscopy using both bright-field and UV. The frequency and spatial distribution of T. gondii in soil were analyzed considering the factors that could affect the mode of contamination, such as the presence of cats and the survival conditions of oocysts. All analyzed soil samples from Marrakesh were negative. The results of the present study are correlated to the sensitivity of our detection method as well as the presence of cats, the main reservoir of this parasite. In addition, temperature, moisture, and soil composition can significantly influence oocysts survival, and consequently affect the probability of human contamination through food.
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Vol. 87 • No. 1