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Molecular and serological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women and sheep in Egypt.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate molecular and serological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) in pregnant women and sheep in Egypt.

METHODS: Blood samples collected from healthy 364 pregnant women and 170 sheep were investigated for T. gondii antibodies and parasitemia using highly specific and sensitive surface antigen (TgSAG2) based enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

RESULTS: Overall prevalence of T. gondii was 51.76%, 17.65% in sheep, 33.79%, 11.81% in pregnant women, using ELISA and RT-PCR respectively. Significant differences in T. gondii prevalence were observed on the basis of contact with cats or soil in pregnant women using either RT-PCR or ELISA. In pregnant women, a significant increase was detected in aged and those eating under-cooked mutton using simultaneous ELISA/RT-PCR.

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of under-cooked infected mutton is an important source of human infection and the combination of the two assays provide accurate and precise data during infection.

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