Abstract

Terminal-spined Schistosoma sp. eggs were detected in several groups of baboons living in Kafue National Park in central Zambia. A total of 166 fecal samples was screened; egg prevalence overall ranged between 7% and 10%, while infection intensities were low. Formalin-fixed eggs had an average length of 144.5 µm and a breadth of 48.3 µm, but the schistosome species could not be unambiguously identified by size or morphology. We used molecular methods to definitively identify the parasite species. Parasite DNA was amplified from stools by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sequence analysis of fragments of the first internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1), mitochondrial 12S rDNA, NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 (nad6), and cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) from 3 egg-positive samples revealed the presence of S. mattheei in these samples. This is the first molecular identification of S. mattheei from free-ranging baboons. Schistosoma mattheei is typically a parasite of bovids, but it can also infect humans. Schistosoma mattheei in baboons in Zambia may affect other wildlife species and humans that live in close proximity to baboons.

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