Original Research

Epidemiological studies of Schistosoma mattheei infections in cattle in the highveld and lowveld communal grazing areas of Zimbabwe

D.M. Pfukenyi, S. Mukaratirwa, A.L. Willingham, J. Monrad
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 73, No 3 | a144 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v73i3.144 | © 2006 D.M. Pfukenyi, S. Mukaratirwa, A.L. Willingham, J. Monrad | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2006 | Published: 13 September 2006

About the author(s)

D.M. Pfukenyi,
S. Mukaratirwa,
A.L. Willingham,
J. Monrad,

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During the period between January 1999 and December 2000, the distribution and seasonal patterns of Schistosoma mattheei infections in cattle in the highveld and lowveld communal grazing areas of Zimbabwe were determined through monthly coprological examination. Faecal samples of cattle were collected from 12 and nine dipping sites in the highveld and lowveld communal grazing areas, respectively. Patterns of distribution and seasonal fluctuations of the intermediate host-snail populations and the climatic factors influencing the distribution were also determined at monthly intervals from November 1998 to October 2000, a period of 24 months, in six dams and six streams in the highveld and nine dams in the lowveld communal grazing areas. Monthly, each site was sampled for relative snail density, the vegetation cover and type, and physical and chemical properties of the water. Mean monthly rainfall and temperature were recorded. Snails collected at the same time were individually examined for shedding of cercariae of S. mattheei and Schistosoma haematobium. A total of 16 264 (5 418 calves, 5 461 weaners and 5 385 adults) faecal samples were collected during the entire period of study and 734 (4.5 %) were positive for S. mattheei eggs. Significantly higher prevalences were found in the highveld compared to the lowveld (P < 0.001), calves compared to adult cattle (P < 0.01) and the wet season compared to the dry season (P < 0.01). Faecal egg output peaked from October/ November to March / April for both years of the study. Bulinus globosus, the snail intermediate host of S. mattheei was recorded from the study sites with the highveld having a significantly higher abundance of the snails than the lowveld (P < 0.01). Monthly densities of B. globosus did not show a clearcut pattern although there were peaks between March / May and September / November. The mean num ber of snails collected was positively correlated with the water plants Nymphaea caerulea and Typha species. Overall, 2.5 % of B. globosus were shedding Schistosoma cercariae. In the highveld, 2.8 % of B. globosus were infected with schistosome cercariae and 1.5 % in the lowveld, with the figures at individual sites ranging from 0-18.8 % in the highveld and from 0-4.5 % in the lowveld. The cercariae recorded here were a mixture of S. mattheei and S. haematobium since they share the same intermediate host. The transmission of Schistosoma cercariae exhibited a marked seasonal pattern, being more intensive during the hot, dry season (September / November).


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