Research Communication

Experimental infection of tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) and African sharp tooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) with Trichinella zimbabwensis

Louis J. la Grange, Samson Mukaratirwa
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 87, No 1 | a1876 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v87i1.1876 | © 2020 Louis Jacobus La Grange, Samson Mukaratirwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 20 April 2020 | Published: 05 November 2020

About the author(s)

Louis J. la Grange, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Chief Directorate Veterinary Services, Veterinary Public Health, Mbombela, South Africa; and, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Samson Mukaratirwa, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Ross University, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis


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Abstract

Trichinella zimbabwensis naturally infects a variety of reptilian and wild mammalian hosts in South Africa. Attempts have been made to experimentally infect piranha fish with T. zimbabwensis and T. papuae without success. Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) and African sharp tooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) are accomplished predators cohabiting with Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) and Nile monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus) in southern Africa and are natural hosts of T. zimbabwensis. To assess the infectivity of T. zimbabwensis to these two hosts, 24 African sharp tooth catfish (mean live weight 581.75 ± 249.71 g) randomly divided into 5 groups were experimentally infected with 1.0 ± 0.34 T. zimbabwensis larvae per gram (lpg) of fish. Forty-one tigerfish (mean live weight 298.6 ± 99.3 g) were randomly divided for three separate trials. An additional 7 tigerfish were assessed for the presence of natural infection as controls. Results showed no adult worms or larvae of T. zimbabwensis in the gastrointestinal tract and body cavities of catfish sacrificed at day 1, 2 and 7 post-infection (p.i.). Two tigerfish from one experimental group yielded 0.1 lpg and 0.02 lpg of muscle tissue at day 26 p.i. and 28 p.i., respectively. No adult worms or larvae were detected in the fish from the remaining groups sacrificed at day 7, 21, 28, 33 and 35 p.i. and from the control group. Results from this study suggest that tigerfish could sustain T. zimbabwensis under specific yet unknown circumstances.

Keywords

Clarias gariepinus; Hydrocynus vittatus; tiger fish; infectivity; Trichinella zimbabwensis

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