Parasite spectrum and seasonal epidemiology of gastrointestinal nematodes of small ruminants in The Gambia.Vet Parasitol. 1993 Sep; 49(2-4):271-83.VP
One hundred and four post mortem examinations of randomly selected sheep (52) and goats (52) were carried out weekly from March 1990 to February 1991. Gastrointestinal parasites were identified and counted. A large spectrum of 16 helminth species was found in 101 (97%) infected animals. The nematodes infecting small ruminants were, in order of predominance: Trichostrongylus colubriformis (96% of all animals), Oesophagostomum columbianum (82%), Haemonchus contortus (67%), Strongyloides papillosus (55%), Gaigeria pachyscelis (38%), Cooperia spp. (49%) and Trichuris ovis (12%). Forty-five (43%) necropsies revealed an infection with Moniezia benedeni, Avitellina centripunctata or Stilesia globulosa. Infections with Schistosoma bovis and Paramphistomum spp. were rarely seen. Goats carried significantly lower worm burdens than sheep and were less often infected by tapeworms. Nematode worm burdens followed a similar seasonal pattern in both host species. While Trichostrongylus colubriformis was also recovered in high numbers in the mid dry season, other species such as H. contortus, Strongyloides papillosus and Oesophagostomum columbianum reached distinct peaks in the rainy season (July-October). Different survival strategies for the prolonged dry season were observed. Haemonchus contortus outlived the unfavourable climatic conditions as inhibited larvae in the abomasal mucosa, while the other nematode species survived as adults with a reduced fecundity. Egg production per adult worm specimen was found to depend heavily on the season and egg counts in the dry season (November-June) did not correspond to the size of worm burdens. Unexpectedly high worm burdens were recovered from adult and old animals. Investigations of young animals indicated that no reinfection can occur during the dry season. The findings are discussed with regard to their relevance for strategic control of gastrointestinal nematodes in small ruminants.