Hamadryas baboons Papio hamadryas as maintenance hosts of Schistosoma mansoni in Saudi Arabia
Free ranging hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) in four localities in the west and north of Saudi Arabia were examined for natural infection with Schistosoma mansoni. Faecal examination revealed infection with S. mansoni on four occasions within one year (at a prevalence rate of 2.5-4.0%) in only one locality, the Al-Baha area. The eggs were viable, as shown by miracidial hatching tests, and were recorded at a density of 140-280 eggs/g of faeces (7000-14 000 eggs/day). Post-mortem examination of 13-24 baboons from each locality revealed infection with S. mansoni (adult worms and eggs in tissue) in only one locality, the Al-Baha area, at a prevalence rate of 4.16%. Viable eggs were found in the faeces and tissue of the infected baboons. The low prevalence rate of S. mansoni in hamadryas baboons in Saudi Arabia is in accordance with the low prevalence rate of S. mansoni in humans in the area. This natural baboon isolate was highly infective to snail intermediate hosts and mammalian hosts under experimental conditions. The epidemiological significance of the role of P. hamadryas (considering their large overall population of 250 000) as maintenance hosts of S. mansoni in Saudi Arabia is discussed.
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