Detection and genotypic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii DNA within the milk of Mongolian livestock

E. Iacobucci, N. S. Taus, M. W. Ueti, L. Sukhbaatar, Z. Bastsukh, S. Papageorgiou, Heather Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Toxoplasma gondii is a global, zoonotic parasite capable of infecting any warm-blooded host. Toxoplasmosis can cause a variety of illnesses including abortions and congenital defects in humans, sheep, and goats. Congenital toxoplasmosis is considered to have the highest global disease burden of any foodborne illness in humans. This study examined the potential role of milk as a route of T. gondii transmission between livestock and humans within Mongolian herders, a little-studied population which relies heavily on animals. Milk of Mongolian sheep, goats and Bactrian camels was tested for the presence of T. gondii DNA, and a survey was conducted to ascertain what behavioral and environmental factors were present that might potentiate T. gondii infection within these Mongolian communities. T. gondii DNA was detected in samples from one sheep and five camels. Sequence analysis of DNA from camel milk revealed that two were from potentially virulent T. gondii genotypes. This has implications for public health in the region, as milk is an extremely important source of nutrition and our survey results imply that some people believe consumption of raw camel milk carries health benefits. This is the first report of T. gondii DNA in Bactrian camel milk as well as the first genotypic characterization of T. gondii within Mongolia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalParasitology Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Bactrian camel
  • Milk
  • Mongolia
  • PCR
  • Toxoplasma gondii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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