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Schistosomiasis is one of the world's most widely distributed and prevalent parasitic diseases. Less widely recognized is that some species of Schistosoma, including several that commonly affect humans, also cause disease in other mammalian species; in particular, infections in non-human primates are known. With interest increasing in emerging zoonotic diseases, the status of schistosomiasis as a zoonotic infection is in need of re-appraisal, especially in light of advances in application of molecular screening and epidemiological tools where newly reported infections raise general animal welfare and conservation concerns. Focusing on Africa, this review provides a summary of the occurrence of schistosomiasis in non-human primates and discusses new ways in which surveillance for schistosomiasis should be integrated into more effective conservation management and disease control strategies. Emphasis is on the more common forms of human schistosomiasis, their clinical manifestations and epidemiological significance in terms of infection reservoir potential.
Larvae of the cyclophyllidean tapeworms Paradilepis scolecina (Rudolphi, 1819), Neogryporhynchus cheilancristrotus (Wedl, 1855) and Valipora campylancristrota (Wedl, 1855), are described from British freshwater fish. The morphometrics of the rostellar hooks, infection characteristics and host ranges of these parasites from fisheries in England and Wales are presented. Difficulties in the detection, handling and identification of these tapeworms are highlighted, and may in part explain the paucity of records from Britain. Tissue digestion was shown to be a useful technique for the examination of these parasites, providing clear and consistent preparations of the rostellar hooks for measurement. The pathological changes caused by P. scolecina to the liver of wild tench, Tinca tinca, are detailed for the first time. Tapeworms located in the hepatic parenchyma and pancreatic tissues caused little pathological damage and invoked only mild inflammatory responses. The small size of these tapeworms and their encapsulation within host tissues appear to limit the severity of pathology, compared with parasites that insert their rostellum during attachment.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, while neurocysticercosis caused by Taenia solium infection of the central nervous system currently represents the leading cause of secondary epilepsy in Central and South America, East and South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of increased migration from these endemic regions, neurocysticercosis and subsequent epilepsy are becoming a growing public health problem in developed countries as well. In order to determine the prevalence of T. solium infection in patients with epilepsy in Croatia, a retrospective serological study was conducted. A total of 770 serum samples were tested for the presence of T. solium IgG antibodies using a commercial qualitative enzyme immunoassay. The Western blot technique was used as a confirmatory test for the diagnosis. The overall seroprevalence rate of T. solium infection in patients with clinically proven epilepsy was 1.5%. Although the results have shown that infection with this tapeworm is rare in Croatia, this study hopes to increase awareness about the importance of preventive measures and benefits of accurate and timely diagnosis. Intervention measures for infection control are crucial, namely sanitation improvement, control of domestic pig-breeding, detailed meat inspection, detection and treatment of tapeworm carriers, hand washing and health education.
The parasitological and histopathological effects of immunosuppression in guinea-pigs (Cavia porcellus) experimentally infected with Schistosoma haematobium were studied. A total of 16 guinea-pigs were divided into four groups (four per group): non-immunosuppressed, non-infected group (NN); immunosuppressed, non-infected group (IN); immunosuppressed, infected group (II); non-immunosuppressed, infected group (NI). The IN and II groups were immunosuppressed with 5 mg/kg prednisolone while the II and NI animals were infected with 200–300 S. haematobium cercariae. Excretion of eggs in urine/faeces, worm burden and histopathology of some vital organs of the guinea-pigs were studied. Eggs of S. haematobium were observed in the urine of the NI and II groups from 9 weeks post-infection and in faeces from 10 and 13 weeks post-infection for the NI and II groups, respectively. However, II animals excreted more viable eggs in urine and faeces than those of the NI group. Worm recovery at 14 weeks post-infection showed that NI and II guinea-pigs had more female worms than male worms and a greater proportion of worm recovery for NI animals was of immature worms. Significant differences (P < 0.05) existed between female, male and immature worm burden of the two groups but not in their total worm burden (P>0.05). Histological changes, which were notably reactions to adult S. haematobium worms, were observed in the organs of the NI and II groups but these changes were seen more in the organs of the immunosuppressed, infected (II) than in the non-immunosuppressed, infected (NI) guinea-pigs. The results suggest that immunosuppression before infection increased worm survival and had a moderate effect on liver and bladder histology of S. haematobium infected guinea-pigs.
The aims of the present study were to compare, using multivariate analyses, the degree of similarity of the endoparasite fauna of five fish species belonging to the order Gadiformes: Merluccius gayi, Merluccius australis, Macruronus magellanicus (Gadoidei) and Micromesistius australis and Nezumia pulchella (Macrouroidei), from the southern and central Chilean coast, and to evaluate whether the composition of the endoparasite fauna was determined by phylogenetic or ecological relationships. We employed our database of Merluccius australis, M. magellanicus and Micromesistius australis, which was complemented with published information for M. magellanicus, Merluccius australis, Micromesistius australis, M. gayi and N. pulchella. A higher number of endoparasite species was recorded for Merluccius australis, Micromesistius australis and M. magellanicus, namely Anisakis sp. and Hepatoxylon trichiuri, which is the most prevalent parasite among these hosts. Aporocotyle wilhelmi and Hysterothylacium sp. were detected only in M. gayi, whereas Lepidapedon sp. was found exclusively in N. pulchella. These results suggest that fish ecology rather than host phylogeny was the most important factor for the determination of similarity in parasite composition. This result could be explained by the similar trophic patterns of hosts and by the predominance of generalist larval species among these fish parasite communities.
A case of cystic echinococcosis (CE) in a domestic cat is described from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Ultrasonography showed numerous cysts with hyperechoic walls and anechoic contents within the cat's abdominal cavity. Molecular identification based on mitochondrial DNA genes indicated that the causative agent was Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto (G1 strain). This is the first report of CE in a cat caused by E. granulosus sensu stricto with molecular confirmation.
Echinococcus granulosus, the aetiologic agent of cystic echinococcosis (CE), is one of the most important zoonotic helminthes worldwide. Isolates of the parasite show considerable genetic variation in different intermediate hosts. Several genotypes and species are described in different eco-epidemiological settings. This study investigated E. granulosus genotypes existing in livestock and humans from the province of Kerman, located in south-eastern Iran, using sequencing data of cox1 and nad1 mitochondrial genes. Fifty-eight E. granulosus isolates, including 35 from sheep, 11 from cattle, 9 from camels and 3 from goats, were collected from slaughterhouses throughout Kerman. One human isolate was obtained from a surgical case of CE. Mitochondrial cox1 and nad1 regions were amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and 38 isolates were sequenced. Genotypes G1 (73.7%), G3 (13.2%) and G6 (13.1%) were identified from the isolates. G1 was the most common genotype from sheep (86.7%), cattle (80%), camels (44.4%) and goats (100%). Sheep, cattle and camels were also found to be infected with the G3 genotype (buffalo strain). The human isolate was identified as the G6 genotype. Results showed that the G3 genotype occurred in different animal hosts in addition to G1 and G6 genotypes.
Intravascular schistosome parasites are covered by an unusual double lipid bilayer. Nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, as well as other metabolites, are known to be transported across this surface via specific transporter proteins. For instance, the glucose transporter protein SGTP4 is found in the host-interactive tegumental membranes. A second glucose transporter, SGTP1, localizes to the tegumental basal membrane (and internal tissues). Following expression in Xenopus oocytes, SGTP1 and SGTP4 both function as facilitated-diffusion sugar transporters. Suppressing the expression of SGTP1 and SGTP4 in juvenile schistosomes using RNA interference (RNAi) impairs the parasite's ability to import glucose and severely decreases worm viability. Amino acids can also be imported into schistosomes across their surface and an amino acid transporter (SPRM1lc) has been localized in the parasite surface membranes (as well as internally). In Xenopus oocytes, SPRM1lc can import the basic amino acids arginine, lysine and histidine as well as leucine, phenylalanine, methionine and glutamine. To function, this protein requires the assistance of a heavy-chain partner (SPRM1hc) which acts as a chaperone. Water is transported across the tegument of schistosomes via the aquaporin protein SmAQP. Suppressing SmAQP gene expression makes the parasites less able to osmoregulate and decreases their viability. In addition, SmAQP-suppressed adult parasites have been shown to be impaired in their ability to excrete lactate. Analysis of tegumental transporter proteins, as described in this report, is designed to generate a comprehensive understanding of the role of such proteins in promoting parasite survival by controlling the movement of metabolites into and out of the worms.
Sequence variability in three mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions, namely cytochrome c oxidase subunit 3 (cox3), NADH dehydrogenase subunits 1 and 4 (nad1 and nad4) in Spirometra erinaceieuropaei spargana from different geographical regions in China was examined. A portion of each of the cox3 (pcox3), nad1 (pnad1) and nad4 genes (pnad4) were amplified separately from individual S. erinaceieuropaei spargana by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Representative amplicons were subjected to sequencing in order to estimate sequence variability. The sequences of pcox3, pnad1 and pnad4 were 541, 607 and 847 bp in length, respectively. The A+T contents of the sequences were 68.39–68.76% (pcox3), 63.76–64.91% (pnad1) and 67.18–67.77% (pnad4), respectively, while the intra-specific sequence variations within each of the S. erinaceieuropaei spargana were 0–1.5% for pcox3, 0–2.8% for pnad1 and 0–2.7% for pnad4. Phylogenetic analysis using neighbour joining (NJ), maximum likelihood (ML) and maximum parsimony (MP) methods, indicated that all the spargana isolates in Hunan Province represented S. erinaceieuropaei. These findings demonstrated clearly the usefulness of the three mtDNA sequences for population genetics studies of S. erinaceieuropaei spargana of human and animal health significance.
The two geohelminths, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura, infect more than a billion people worldwide but are only reported sporadically in the developed part of the world. In contrast, the closely related species A. suum and T. suis in pigs have a truly global distribution, with infected pigs found in most production systems. In areas where pigs and humans live in close proximity or where pig manure is used as fertilizer on vegetables for human consumption, there is a potential risk of cross-infections. We therefore review this relationship between Ascaris and Trichuris in the human and pig host, with special focus on recent evidence concerning the zoonotic potential of these parasites, and identify some open questions for future research.
Studies focusing on communities of helminths from Brazilian lizards are increasing, but there are many blanks in the knowledge of parasitic fauna of wild fauna. This lack of knowledge hampers understanding of ecological and parasitological aspects of involved species. Moreover, the majority of research has focused on parasitic fauna of lizards from families Tropiduridae and Scincidae. Only a few studies have looked at lizards from the family Leiosauridae, including some species of Enyalius. This study presents data on the gastrointestinal parasite fauna of Enyalius perditus and their relationships with ecological aspects of hosts in a disturbed Atlantic rainforest area in the state of Minas Gerais, south-eastern Brazil. Two nematode species, Oswaldocruzia burseyi [(Molineidae) and Strongyluris oscari (Heterakidae) were found. Nematode species showed an aggregated distribution in this host population, with O. burseyi being more aggregated than S. oscari. The present study extends the range of occurrence of O. burseyi to the Brazilian continental area.
Previous studies have shown considerable variability in morphological features and the existence of genetically distinct sibling species in the acanthocephalan Echinorhynchus gadi Zoega in Müller, 1776. The aim of the present study was to follow up and extend those earlier studies by using a combination of DNA analysis and morphometrics to investigate differences between samples of E. gadi from Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. caught at five fishing grounds in the Baltic Sea and three in different parts of the North Atlantic. Twelve morphological features were measured in 431 specimens of E. gadi, 99 individuals were studied by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphosm (PCR-RFLP), and selected PCR products were sequenced. The molecular analyses showed the nucleotide sequences of E. gadi rDNA from cod caught at all the sampling sites to be identical. The comparative morphological study, in contrast, revealed significant differences between samples of E. gadi from different sampling sites and showed the separation of E. gadi into two groups corresponding approximately to the systematic classification of cod into the two subspecies, Atlantic G. morhua morhua and Baltic G. morhua callarias. The E. gadi infrapopulation size had a significant effect on some of the morphological features. The results are discussed in relation to cod population biology, the hydrography of the study area and the history of the Baltic Sea formation.
In the present study populations of the avian nematode species Baruscapillaria obsignata are described from Columba livia. Male and female individuals were obtained from 27 birds, fixed in alcohol/formalin/acetic acid (AFA) and preserved in 70% ethanol. Nematodes were identified and then counted under a stereoscopic microscope. Baruscapillaria obsignata were much more frequent in the anterior third of the small intestine, and females were more abundant than males in all infra populations. The prevalence was 55.6%, mean intensity was 11.8 (median 11.0; range 1–31) and abundance 6.56. In the present study, we observed an aggregated distribution of parasite infrapopulations, as demonstrated by the value of the exponent of the negative binomial distribution, K = 0.2773; by the discrepancy index, D = 0.656 and by the variance/mean ratio, 12.44. The female/male sex ratios found in all infrapopulations were always greater than 1, showing a bias in favour of female abundance. This tendency was especially marked in infrapopulations containing fewer individuals. The sizes of infrapopulations ranged from 5 to 31 individuals. The mean sex ratio observed was 2.69 ± 3.28 (median 1.83; range 0–11). In infrapopulations with 5–15 individuals, the sex ratios observed varied from 2.6 to 11, while in those with 17–31 individuals, the sex ratios were lower, ranging from 1.7 to 2.4. There was a negative correlation between the intensity of infection and the sex ratio of infrapopulations. Results are discussed in terms of possible factors influencing the processes that lead to niche restriction and biased sex ratios in parasite infrapopulations.
We amplified the cDNA coding for arginine kinase (AK) from the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum, cloned it in pMAL plasmid and expressed the enzyme as a fusion protein with the maltose-binding protein. The whole cDNA was 1260 bp, encoding 400 amino acids, and the recombinant protein had a molecular mass of 45,341 Da. Ascaris suum recombinant AK showed significant activity and strong affinity for the substrate l-arginine. It also exhibited high catalytic efficiency comparable with AKs from other organisms. Sequence analysis revealed high amino acid sequence identity between A. suum AK and other nematode AKs, all of which cluster in a phylogenetic tree. However, comparison of gene structures showed that A. suum AK gene intron/exon organization is quite distinct from that of other nematode AKs. Phosphagen kinases (PKs) from certain parasites have been shown to be potential novel drug targets or tools for detection of infection. The characterization of A. suum AK will be useful in the development of strategies for control not only of A. suum but also of related species infecting humans.
The present study describes the activity of a nanomaterial on protoscoleces of Echinococcus granulosus, which exhibited morphological changes and apoptosis. Apoptotic changes were deduced on the basis of effector caspase activation and nucleosomal laddering. Invaginated protoscoleces maintained in vitro became evaginated and had hooks, presumptive suckers and stalks. Degenerative changes of protoscoleces were evidenced after treatment with praziquantel and nano-combination. Protoscoleces treated with praziquantel had distinct attestation of necrosis and nano-combination-treated protoscoleces had signatures of apoptosis.
In this paper we report an investigation of the utility of coprological analysis as an alternative technique to study parasite specificity whenever host sampling is problematic; acanthocephalans from marine mammals were used as a model. A total of 252 scats from the South American sea lion, Otaria flavescens, and rectal faeces from 43 franciscanas, Pontoporia blainvillei, from Buenos Aires Province, were examined for acanthocephalans. Specimens of two species, i.e. Corynosoma australe and C. cetaceum, were collected from both host species. In sea lions, 78 out of 145 (37.9%) females of C. australe were gravid and the sex ratio was strongly female-biased. However, none of the 168 females of C. cetaceum collected was gravid and the sex ratio was not female-biased. Conversely, in franciscanas, 14 out of 17 (82.4%) females of C. cetaceum were gravid, but none of 139 females of C. australe was, and the sex ratio of C. cetaceum, but not that of C. australe, was female-biased. In putative non-hosts, the size of worms was similar to that from specimens collected from prey. Results suggest that both acanthocephalans contact sea lions and franciscanas regularly. However, C. australe and C. cetaceum cannot apparently reproduce, nor even grow, in franciscanas and sea lions, respectively. Coprological analysis may represent a useful supplementary method to investigate parasite specificity, particularly when host carcasses are difficult to obtain.
Although nothing is known about gyliauchenid life cycles, molecular phylogenetic studies have placed the Gyliauchenidae Fukui, 1929 close to the Lepocreadiidae Odhner, 1905. The gyliauchenid Gyliauchen volubilis Nagaty, 1956 was found in the intestine of its type-host, Siganus rivulatus, a siganid fish permanently resident in a lagoon within the mangrove swamps on the Egyptian coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. Larval forms of this trematode (mother sporocysts, rediae and cercariae) were found in the gonads and digestive gland of Clypeomorus clypeomorus (Gastropoda: Cerithiidae), a common snail in the same lagoon. So, this life cycle of G. volubilis was elucidated under natural conditions: eggs are directly ingested by the snail; mother sporocysts and rediae reach their maturity 3–6 and 11–13 weeks post-infection; rediae contain 23–29 developing cercariae; fully developed cercariae are gymnocephalus, without penetration glands, emerge from the snail during the night 16–18 weeks post-infection and rapidly encyst on aquatic vegetation (no second intermediate host); encysted metacercariae are not progenetic; 4-day-old metacercariae encysted on filamentous algae fed to S. rivulatus developed into fully mature worms 6–8 weeks post-infection. The cycle was completed in about 26 weeks and followed one of the three known patterns of lepocreadiid life cycles, and except for the gymnocephalus cercariae, the other larval stages are very similar to those of lepocreadiids. Generally, the life cycle of G. volubilis implicitly supports the phylogenetic relationship of Gyliauchenidae and Lepocreadiidae inferred from molecular phylogenetic studies.
This paper examines the influence of water on the ecology of the eggs of Nematodirus battus, with a view to estimating the importance of including rainfall in mathematical models of parasite abundance. The literature suggests that, under pasture conditions, the availability of moisture is unlikely to be limiting for egg development, while eggs and infective larvae are highly resistant to desiccation. In the presented experiment, eggs that had been kept in salt sludges at 95% and 70% RH and were subsequently put at 15°C produced only a mildly accelerated, but not a mass, hatch, in the first few days after return to water. Eggs kept at higher osmotic pressures died. Mass hatching of infective larvae, described at pasture when spells of rain follow periods of drought, is unlikely to occur as the result of a sudden water influx into eggs. Since water is not necessary for migration of infective larvae from the soil on to grass, such peaks in larval abundance are more likely to arise from the effects of temperature on hatching of eggs.
A cross-sectional study of the prevalence, intensity and effects of soil-transmitted helminth and protozoan infections was undertaken among patients at the Buea Hospital Annex located in Buea sub-division of Cameroon. Stool samples from 356 subjects (174 males and 182 females) were collected and processed using standard concentration methods. Our results showed that 31.0% of subjects were infected with intestinal helminths and the prevalence was higher in females (32.4%) than in males (30.5%). A significantly higher prevalence was observed in rural (47.2%) than in urban areas (21.0%); significance < 0.1%. Prevalence was highest among those aged between 6 and 12 years (41.4%). The total prevalence of intestinal helminth infections were 19.3% for Ascaris lumbricoides, 14.0% for hookworm and 11.8% for Trichuris trichiura. The intensity of infection was unevenly distributed, with very heavy loads concentrated in a few individuals. Data also showed that 28.1% (100/356) of the subjects were infected with protozoans. Females showed a higher prevalence (28.6%; 52/182) than males (20.7%; 36/174). Also, there was a significantly higher prevalence in rural (34.0%; 49/144) than urban areas (18.4%; 39/212); significance < 0.1%. The age group 6–12 years again had a higher prevalence (37.1%; 26/70). The total prevalence of intestinal protozoans was: Entamoeba histolytica (24.4%), Entamoeba coli (11.2%) and Giardia lamblia (0.6%). These relatively heavy prevalences in patients may be reduced by appropriate medication and maintaining strict personal hygiene. Health education, clean water supply, good sewage management and a congenial environment will all help to minimize infection.
In vitro chemotactic responses of infective third-stage larvae (L3) of Brugia pahangi to NaCl, Na2HPO4, KCl, K2HPO4, MgCl2 and CaCl2 were assessed. Compared to deionized water as a control, 200 mm NaCl and 100 mm Na2HPO4 significantly attracted L3 (P < 0.01 and P < 0.01), whereas L3 were likely to avoid 200 mm KCl and 100 mm K2HPO4 (P < 0.05 and P < 0.05). L3 showed no significant tendency to avoid or to be attracted to 200 mm CaCl2 and 200 mm MgCl2. Furthermore, NaCl exhibited a significant chemoattractant activity for L3 at a low concentration of 100 mm.