Atypical Toxoplasma gondii genotypes identified in oocysts shed by cats in Germany
A total of 18,259 feline faecal samples from cats in Germany were collected and analysed for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts between June 2007 and December 2008. The proportion of T. gondii-positive samples collected between January and June was significantly lower than between July and December. The age of cats shedding T. gondii oocysts was not significantly different from the age of negative control cats. Forty-six T. gondii-positive samples were genetically characterised using nine PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers which included newSAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico. In addition, 22 isolates that had already been partially characterised in a previous study were further typed using PCR-RFLP markers c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico. Genotyping of the 68 isolates revealed that the majority of T. gondii isolates (n = 54) had Type II patterns at all loci but displayed a Type I pattern at the Apico locus. Three isolates displayed Type II patterns at all loci, including the Apico locus. In addition, we detected one isolate with clonal Type III patterns at all loci and three isolates with atypical and mixed genotypes. Seven isolates could not be fully genotyped. One of those isolates displayed alleles of both Types I and II at the Apico locus. To our knowledge this is the first description of the presence of T. gondii genotypes different from the clonal Types I, II and III in the faeces of naturally infected cats.