RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Trichinella zimbabwensis in wild reptiles of Zimbabwe and Mozambique and farmed reptiles of Ethiopia.

Veterinary Parasitology 2007 Februrary 29
In 1995, a new species of Trichinella (Trichinella zimbabwensis) was discovered in farmed Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in Zimbabwe, where the mode of transmission was the consumption of the meat of slaughtered crocodiles, used as feed. To determine whether T. zimbabwensis affects poikilotherm vertebrates in the wild, monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus) and Nile crocodiles were collected in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In 5 (17.6%) of the 28 monitor lizards from Zimbabwe, T. zimbabwensis larvae were identified. For the wild Nile crocodiles from Mozambique, species-level identification was not possible, yet immunohistochemical analysis revealed that 8 (20%) of the 40 animals harboured non-encapsulated Trichinella sp. larvae, which probably belonged to T. zimbabwensis. This is the first report of T. zimbabwensis in wild reptiles, and the findings are consistent with reports that vertebrates with scavenger and cannibalistic behaviour are the most important hosts of Trichinella spp. The wide distribution of monitor lizards and crocodiles in Africa and the development of national crocodile breeding programs in many African countries should be taken into consideration when evaluating the risk of transmission of this parasite to mammals, including humans.

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