Epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in Thailand

Abstract : Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite. Toxoplasma gondii infection is widespread throughout the world. Nevertheless, it is poorly studied in Southeast Asian countries including Thailand. We carried out 3 field works in Thailand to try to understand the circulation of T. gondii through a seroprevalence study in chickens in rural areas and strain isolation attempts in animals. During the two first field works, performed in Kanchanaburi province, we determined the seroprevalence in chickens (Gallus domesticus) using 2 serological tests, a Modified-Agglutination-Test (MAT) and an immunofluorescence assay (IFAT) and subsequently tried to isolate the strains of T. gondii from seropositive animals. During the third field work carried out in 3 other Thai provinces (Nakhonratchasima,Lopburi and Saraburi), we attempted to isolate strains directly from chicken carcasses sold in different markets or other dead animals.The overall seroprevalence for 600 chickens sampled over the two field works in Kanchanaburi was 17.7% (95%CI: 14.6% -20.7) and 33.0% (95% CI: 29.2-36.8), by MAT, and IFAT, respectively. The κ coefficient indicated an absence of concordance between the 2 serological tests.A total of 162 isolation attempts were performed by mouse bioassays, but no viable strain of T. gondii was isolated during these 3 field works. However, a qPCR targeting 529 bp T. gondii gene was positive for 13 digestion pellets of organs of chickens, pigeon, quail and in brains or hearts of mice inoculated with 16 other chickens. These qPCR were weaklly positive (Ct ≥33) indicating a low amount of parasite DNA in our samples that did not allow genotyping T. gondii with microsatellite markers.This work demonstrated the importance and difficulties of field work for the seroprevalence study as well as strain isolation. The isolation of T. gondii strains required intensive and complex sampling in the tropical and humid environment of Thailand. The diverse factors that could have a negative impact on our results are discussed. They might explain the absence of strain isolation from seropositive animals.
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Patcharee Chaichan. Epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii in Thailand. Human health and pathology. Université de Limoges, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LIMO0014⟩. ⟨tel-01778718⟩

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