Gastrointestinal Parasites of Captive and Free-roaming Primates at the Afi mountain Primate Conservation Area in Calabar, Nigeria and their Zoonotic Implications
A study on the gastrointestinal parasites among free-living and captive primates at the Afi Mountain, Primate Conservation Area in Calabar, Nigeria was undertaken for the first time to ascertain their zoonotic implications. Faecal samples were subjected to direct smear, floatation, quantitative estimation of helminth eggs (epg) and oocysts (opg), larval isolation and identification by modified Baermans technique and oocyst sporulation for specie identification. Out of the 108 primates examined, 75(69.44%) were found to be shedding the ova and oocysts of several gastrointestinal parasites of which, the mona monkeys (Cercopethicus mona) 16(80%) followed by the white collared mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus) 7(77.78) had the highest (p<0.05) prevalence of infection. Meanwhile, the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) had the highest ova or oocyst counts and variety of gastrointestinal parasites such as Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Balantidium coli, Enterobius vermicularis, Entamoeba histolytica, Strongyloides stercoralis, Blastocystis hominis, Hymenolepis nana, Schistosoma mansoni, Ancylostosoma duodenale and Cryptosporidium species. Similarly, the drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus), Sclaters white-nosed monkey (Cercopethicus erythrotis sclateri), white-collared mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus) and others, had Ascaris lumbricoides or Ancylostoma duodenale. All captive primates were more infected than those under free-roam. The young (<12 months) and females had higher infection rates (p<0.05) than their counterparts. In conclusion, the primates harboured several parasites of zoonotic importance.
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