Natural prevalence in Cuban populations of the lymnaeid snail Galba cubensis infected with the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica: small values do matter
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Natural infections of lymnaeid snails by Fasciola hepatica are of primary importance to study transmission. Also, infected snails in the field can be used to explore the existing compatibility in host–parasite interactions. This paper aimed to describe the infection rate of Galba cubensis populations in fasciolosis transmission areas. Eight sites were sampled in western Cuba and 24 infected snails at six sites were found. The mean prevalence was 2.94 % and the maximum value was 11.4 %. The intensity of parasite infection was assessed as the number of rediae inside a single snail. High variation within the sites examined was observed, but a maximum of 76 rediae was recovered from one individual. Although the presence of two other trematode families (Schistosomatidae and Paramphistomatidae) was discovered in dissected individuals, no co-infection with F. hepatica was observed. This is the first time a study of natural prevalence of F. hepatica infection is carried out in Cuba, considered a hyper endemic country for bovine fasciolosis. Our results suggest that fasciolosis transmission may occur even when the number of infected snails remains relatively low.
KeywordsGalba cubensis Fasciola hepatica Natural infection Parasite transmission
The authors would like to thank local veterinary and cowsheds authorities for their assistance during the field samplings. This work was supported by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (BEST grant to A.A.V.).
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