Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 8, pp 2359–2378 | Cite as

A review of wildlife tourism and meta-analysis of parasitism in Africa’s national parks and game reserves

  • Paul Olalekan Odeniran
  • Isaiah Oluwafemi Ademola
  • Henry Olanrewaju Jegede


The recent increase of parasitic diseases associated with wildlife tourism can be traced to human contact with wildlife and intense modification of wildlife habitat. The continental estimates of parasitic diseases among visited wildlife-tourists and mammalian wildlife present in conservation areas are lacking; therefore, a general review was necessary to provide insights into Africa’s parasitic disease burden and transmission between humans and wildlife. A two-step analysis was conducted with searches in Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Web of Science and Global Health. All diseases reported without prevalence were grouped and analysed as categorical data while meta-analysis of prevalence rates of parasitic diseases in wildlife from national parks and reserves in Africa was conducted. Only 4.7% of the tourist centres reported routine wildlife diagnosis for parasitic diseases. Disease intensity shows that cryptosporidiosis and seven other parasitic diseases were observed in both human and wildlife; however, no significant difference in intensity between human and wildlife hosts was observed. Schistosomiasis intensity reports showed a significant increase (P < 0.05) while entamoebiasis showed a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in humans as compared to wildlife. Visiting tourists were more infected with malaria, while wildlife was more infected with parasitic gastroenteritis (PGE). The meta-analysis of wildlife revealed the highest prevalence of PGE with mixed parasites and lowest prevalence of Giardia spp. at 99.9 and 5.7%, respectively. The zoonotic and socioeconomic impact of some of these parasites could pose a severe public threat to tourism. Pre- and post-travel clinical examinations are important for tourists while routine examination, treatment and rational surveillance are important for these animals to improve wildlife tourism.


Wildlife Parasites Tourists Conservation areas Africa 



The authors would like to appreciate the University of Edinburgh for access to the library database, Dr. Ewan MacLeod for providing the qGIS software and training materials and Professor Adejinmi JO for his kind support. Gratitude to Dr. Joshua David Jones for his contribution. Paul O. Odeniran is a Commonwealth scholar with reference number NGCN-2016-196.

Authors’ contributions

POO and IOA conceived the study idea, POO and IOA collected all the data, POO, IOA and HOJ analysed and interpreted the results, POO, IOA and HOJ drafted the manuscript. All authors approved the final copy of the paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

There is no ethical approval for non-experimental work from where the article originated.

Informed consent

There is no informed consent on this article.

Supplementary material

436_2018_5958_MOESM1_ESM.docx (47 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 47.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Olalekan Odeniran
    • 1
  • Isaiah Oluwafemi Ademola
    • 1
  • Henry Olanrewaju Jegede
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Parasitology and Entomology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria
  2. 2.Veterinary Teaching HospitalUniversity of IlorinIlorinNigeria

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