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Molecular identification of the strongyloid nematode Oesophagostomum aculeatum in the Asian wild elephant Elephas maximus

  • O. Phuphisut (a1), W. Maipanich (a1), S. Pubampen (a1), M. Yindee (a2), N. Kosoltanapiwat (a3), S. Nuamtanong (a1), A. Ponlawat (a4) and P. Adisakwattana (a1)...

The transmission of zoonoses by wildlife, including elephants, is a growing global concern. In this study, we screened for helminth infections among Asian wild elephants (Elephas maximus) of the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Elephant faecal samples (45) were collected from the sanctuary grounds during January through November 2013 and assayed individually using the tetranucleotide microsatellite technique. Microscopic examination indicated a high prevalence of strongylids (93.0%) and low prevalences of trichurids (2.3%) and ascarids (2.3%). To identify the strongylid species, small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences were amplified from copro-DNA and compared with sequences in GenBank. The generated SSU-rDNA sequences comprised five distinct haplotypes that were closely related to Oesophagostomum aculeatum. A phylogenetic analysis that incorporated related nematodes yielded a tree separated into two main clades, one containing our samples and human and domestic animal hookworms and the other consisting of Strongyloides. The present results indicate that O. aculeatum in local elephants is a potential source of helminthiasis in human and domestic animals in this wild-elephant irrupted area.

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Journal of Helminthology
  • ISSN: 0022-149X
  • EISSN: 1475-2697
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