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Monospecific helminth and arthropod infections in an urban population of brown rats from Doha, Qatar

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2007

M.A. Abu-Madi*
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Technology, Qatar University, PO 2713, Doha, Qatar
J.W. Lewis
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 OEX, UK
M. Mikhail
Affiliation:
Department of Health-Affairs, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, Doha, Qatar: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
M.E. El-Nagger
Affiliation:
Department of Health-Affairs, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, Doha, Qatar: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
*
*Fax: 00 974 4655749 E-mail: abumadi:@qu.edu.qa

Abstract

Parasitic infections were studied for the first time in an urban population of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Doha. Only one species of helminth was found, the cestode Hymenolepis diminuta, and one ectoparasite, the flea Xenopsylla astia, from a sample size of 136 rats (52 males and 84 females). The prevalence of H. diminuta was 17.6%, increasing with host age but not in relation to host sex nor season of capture. Host age was a key factor in influencing abundance of infection, although there was a significant three-way interaction with season and host sex arising through heavy infections in juvenile male rats in the summer. The prevalence of X. astia was 45.6%, although both prevalence and abundance of infestations were season and host age dependent. In the winter prevalence and abundance were similar in both host age and sex groups, but in the summer both parameters of infestation were markedly higher among juveniles compared with adults. We found evidence for some association between these two species: H. diminuta was more prevalent among rats with fleas than among those without, although this association was season-, and independently sex- and age-dependent. There were no quantitative interactions and reasons for this are discussed in relation to the foraging and breeding behaviour of the brown rat in Qatar.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Cambridge University Press 2001

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