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Trematode infections of the freshwater snail Biomphalaria pfeifferi from a south-east Nigerian community with emphasis on cercariae of Schistosoma

  • O.C. Okeke (a1) and P.O. Ubachukwu (a1) (a2)


Knowledge of trematode infections in Biomphalaria pfeifferi from south-eastern Nigeria is scarce, due to the absence of Schistosoma mansoni infection in the region. Therefore, the present study sought to describe trematode infections in B. pfeifferi from the River Uzuru in the Nigeria Cement Factory area, Nkalagu, south-eastern Nigeria. Four hundred and sixty snails were checked for trematode infections, and mice were exposed to the Schistosoma cercariae shed from the snails. Adult worms were harvested from the mice 13 weeks post-infection, while sections of the liver and spleen were examined. Primary school children living in the area were screened for S. mansoni infection and assessed for activities involving water contact. The edges of the river were also searched for burrows and rodents. The five cercaria morphotypes found were armatae xiphidiocercariae, echinocercariae, Schistosoma cercariae, cystophorous cercariae and cercariaeum cercariae. The overall prevalence and mean intensity of trematode infections were 39.78% and 195.46, with the prevalence and mean intensity of most cercaria morphotypes higher in the hot–dry than in the cool–dry season. The infected mice showed S. mansoni-like characteristics but the stool samples of the schoolchildren were negative for S. mansoni eggs. Water-contact activities in the River Uzuru were minimal. Burrows were seen at the river edges but no Schistosoma eggs were recovered from captured rats. This is the first report of Schistosoma cercariae and other cercaria morphotypes in B. pfeifferi from south-eastern Nigeria. Additional molecular investigations are needed to identify correctly these Schistosoma cercariae, due to their public health implication.


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