Korean J Parasitol.  2013 Jun;51(3):363-367. 10.3347/kjp.2013.51.3.363.

Prevalence and Genetic Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii in House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in Lanzhou, China

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730046, P.R. China. siyang.huang@
  • 2College of Animal Science and Technology, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, Jilin Province 130118, P.R. China.
  • 3Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture, Yanbian University, Yanji, Jilin Province 133000, P.R. China.


The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in birds has epidemiological significance because birds are indeed considered as a good indicator of environmental contamination by T. gondii oocysts. In this study, the prevalence of T. gondii in 313 house sparrows in Lanzhou, northwestern China was assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibodies to T. gondii were positive in 39 (12.46%) of 313 samples (MAT titer > or = 1:5). Tissues of heart, brain, and lung from the 39 seropositive house sparrows were tested for T. gondii DNA, 11 of which were found to be positive for the T. gondii B1 gene by PCR amplification. These positive DNA samples were typed at 9 genetic markers, including 8 nuclear loci, i.e., SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alternative SAG2, SAG3, GRA6, L358, PK1, c22-8 and an apicoplast locus Apico. Of them, 4 isolates were genotyped with complete data for all loci, and 2 genotypes (Type II variants; ToxoDB #3 and a new genotype) were identified. These results showed that there is a potential risk for human infection with T. gondii in this region. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T. gondii seroprevalence in house sparrows in China.


Toxoplasma gondii; sparrow; seroprevalence; PCR-RFLP typing; northwestern China

MeSH Terms

Bird Diseases/epidemiology/*parasitology
Seroepidemiologic Studies
Toxoplasma/*genetics/isolation & purification
Toxoplasmosis, Animal/epidemiology/*parasitology
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