Prevalence of toxoplasmosis and genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii strains isolated in wild birds of prey and their relation with previously isolated strains from Turkey

KARAKAVUK M., Aldemir D., Mercier A., Sahar E. A., CAN H., Murat J., ...More

PLOS ONE, vol.13, no.4, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196159
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoon parasite that causes congenital toxoplasmosis, as well as other serious clinical presentations, in immune compromised humans. Analyses of the prevalence and genotyping of strains from the definitive host and intermediate hosts will help to understanding the circulation of the different strains and elucidating the role of the genotype (s) in human toxoplasmosis. Turkey has a specific geographic location bridging Africa, Europe, and Asia. We hypothesized that T. gondii strains may have been transferred to Turkey from these continents via migratory birds or vice versa. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of toxoplasmosis in wild birds of prey of Izmir and Manisa provinces as well as genetically characterize T. gondii strains from these wild birds to show the relation between bird strains and neighboring stray cats as well as human strains previously isolated in Turkey. Tissues obtained from 48 wild birds were investigated for the presence of T. gondii DNA and then bioassayed in mouse. Isolated strains were genotyped using 15 microsatellite markers. The prevalence of T. gondii DNA was found to be 89.6% (n: 43/48) in wild birds. Out of 43 positive samples, a total of 14 strains were genotyped by 15 microsatellite markers. Among them, eight were type II, three were type III and three were mixture of genotypes (two type II/II and one was II/III). These are the first data that showed the presence of T. gondii and types II and III genotypes in wild birds of Turkey. Moreover, Africa 1 was not detected. In addition, cluster analysis showed that T. gondiistrains within type II and III lineage have close relation with strains previously isolated from stray cats in Izmir. Further studies are required to isolate more strains from human cases, other intermediate hosts, and water sources to reveal this relation.