Prevalence and molecular characterization of Toxocara cati infection in feral cats in Alexandria city, northern Egypt.
Background: This study was performed to determine the prevalence and to identify precisely Toxocara spp., which infects feral cats in Alexandria, Egypt based on morphological and molecular approaches.Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out on 100 feral cats trapped from different areas of Alexandria during 2018. Adult male and female worms were recovered from small intestinal contents after euthanasia and dissection of cats. Distinct morphological features were initially determined using available keys, and then after amplification and sequencing of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) gene was carried out and phylogenetic trees were constructed. Results: Forty out of 100 cats were infected with Toxocara spp. Intensity of infection ranged from 1 to 9 worms/cat, with a mean of 2.27±1.6. All isolates were confirmed as T. cati based on morphological features and the sequence of nad1 gene. Results of the current study clearly show that Egyptian T. cati isolate examined herein is genetically similar to those recorded in other countries.Conclusion: The current work revealed high prevalence of T. cati in feral cats in the study area. This is the first genetic study that confirms T. cati from feral cats in Egypt. In addition, it demonstrated the suitability and need of genetic markers such as nad1 for identification of Toxocara spp. Furthermore highlights the public health importance of T. cati in Egypt.