Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from brain or heart tissue from 15 southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) in cell cultures. These strains were used to infect mice that developed antibodies to T. gondii as detected in the modified direct agglutination test and had T. gondii tissue cysts in their brains at necropsy. Mouse brains containing tissue cysts from 4 of the strains were fed to 4 cats. Two of the cats excreted T. gondii oocysts in their feces that were infectious for mice. Molecular analyses of 13 strains indicated that they were all type II strains, but that they were genetically distinct from one another.
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Biological and molecular characterizations of Toxoplasma gondii strains