Short Communication

Susceptibility of 7 freshwater gastropod species in Zimbabwe to infection with Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus (Cobbold, 1876) Looss, 1896 : short communication

S. Mukaratirwa, I.F. Munjere, M. Takawira, G. Chingwena
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 75, No 4 | a481 | DOI: | © 2004 S. Mukaratirwa, I.F. Munjere, M. Takawira, G. Chingwena | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2004 | Published: 21 June 2004

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S. Mukaratirwa,
I.F. Munjere,
M. Takawira,
G. Chingwena,

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Gastrodiscosis outbreaks due to Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus were recorded in horses in the vicinity of Harare, Zimbabwe, in the absence of Bulinus forskalii, B. senegalensis and Cleopatra sp. which are considered to be the only intermediate host snails. This suggested the possibility of other snail species acting as intermediate hosts in the life cycle of the trematode. A study was carried out to determine the susceptibility of 7 freshwater snail species to infection with G. aegyptiacus. First generation (F-1) of 5 freshwater pulmonate snail species, Bulinus tropicus, Bulinus globosus, Biomphalaria pfeifferi, Helisoma dyuri and Physa acuta that were bred in the laboratory, and 2 prosobranch snail species, Melanoides tuberculata and Cleopatra sp. that were collected from the field were used in this study. Data pertaining to mortalities and cercariae shedding were recorded throughout the experimental period. The prosobranch snails, M. tuberculata and Cleopatra sp. were susceptible to G. aegyptiacus with a minimum prepatent period of 45 days and 54 days, respectively. Bulinus tropicus, P. acuta and H. duryi were susceptible as evidenced by the presence of different generations of rediae and mature cercariae on dissection at 59 days post-infection although attempts to induce the snails to shed from 28 days post-infection did not produce cercariae. Bulinus globosus and Bio. Pfeifferi were refractory to infection. The results revealed the ability of G. aegyptiacus to infect M. tuberculata, Cleopatara sp., B. tropicus, P. acuta and H. duryi under experimental conditions and this may explain the recorded outbreaks of gastrodiscosis in equine populations in Zimbabwe in the absence of the known intermediate hosts. Bulinus tropicus is considered as the most likely major intermediate host of G. aegyptiacus because of its wide distribution in Zimbabwe and is well adapted to a wide variety of environments.


Gastrodiscus Aegyptiacus; Gastropods; Survival Rates; Susceptibility


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