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Angiostrongylus cantonensis in urban populations of terrestrial gastropods and rats in an impoverished region of Brazil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2021

Fábio N. Souza*
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil
Maísa Aguiar Santos
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil
Daniele Almeida Alves
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil
Leyva Cecília Vieira de Melo
Instituto Adolfo Lutz, São Paulo, Brazil
Dan Jessé Gonçalves da Mota
Instituto Adolfo Lutz, São Paulo, Brazil
Arsinoê Cristina Pertile
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil
Ricardo Gava
Instituto Adolfo Lutz, São Paulo, Brazil
Pedro Luiz Silva Pinto
Instituto Adolfo Lutz, São Paulo, Brazil
Max T. Eyre
Centre for Health Informatics, Computing, and Statistics, Lancaster University Medical School, Lancaster, UK
Caio Graco Zeppelini
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil
Mitermayer G. Reis
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Disease, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, USA
Albert I. Ko
Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Disease, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, USA
Mike Begon
Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Thiago C. Bahiense
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil
Federico Costa
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Disease, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, USA Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Ticiana Carvalho-Pereira
Universidade Federal da Bahia, UFBA, Salvador, Brazil Instituto Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil
Author for correspondence: Fábio N. Souza, E-mail:


The nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the most common cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis (manifested as eosinophilic meningitis) in humans. Gastropod molluscs are used as intermediate hosts and rats of various species are definitive hosts of this parasite. In this study, we identified several environmental factors associated with the presence and abundance of terrestrial gastropods in an impoverished urban region in Brazil. We also found that body condition, age and presence of co-infection with other parasite species in urban Rattus norvegicus, as well as environmental factors were associated with the probability and intensity of A. cantonensis infection. The study area was also found to have a moderate prevalence of the nematode in rodents (33% of 168 individuals). Eight species of molluscs (577 individuals) were identified, four of which were positive for A. cantonensis. Our study indicates that the environmental conditions of poor urban areas (presence of running and standing water, sewage, humidity and accumulated rain and accumulation of construction materials) influenced both the distribution and abundance of terrestrial gastropods, as well as infected rats, contributing to the maintenance of the A. cantonensis transmission cycle in the area. Besides neuroangiostrongyliasis, the presence of these hosts may also contribute to susceptibility to other zoonoses.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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These authors contributed equally to this work.


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