Toxoplasma gondii infections are common in humans and other animals, but clinical disease is relatively rare. It is unknown whether the severity of toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent hosts is due to the parasite strain, host variability, or to other factors. Recently, attention has been focused on the genetic variability among T. gondii isolates from apparently healthy and sick hosts. Whether T. gondii genetic makeup plays a part in the pathogenesis of clinical feline toxoplasmosis is uncertain because little is known of genetic typing of strains associated with clinical feline toxoplasmosis. A 6-mo-old domestic male cat was hospitalized because of lethargy, anorexia, fever, and diarrhea. Numerous (6 million in 1 sample) T. gondii oocysts were found in feces of the cat and antibodies to T. gondii (titer 1:800) were found in its serum by the modified agglutination test. The cat was medicated orally with Clindamycin for 10 days; it became asymptomatic after 10 days and was discharged from the hospital. Viable T. gondii (designated TgCatUs9) was isolated from feces (oocysts) by bioassays in mice. Genetic typing using the DNA extracted from the brains of infected mice and 10 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers revealed Type II allele at the SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, and PK1 loci and Type I at the L358 and Apico loci; therefore, this isolate belongs to the ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype no. 4, which is grouped into the Type 12 lineage that is dominant in wildlife from North America. To our knowledge, this is the first T. gondii isolate characterized genetically from a sick cat in the USA.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1