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Gastrointestinal helminths in farmers and their ruminant livestock from the Coastal Savannah zone of Ghana

Squire, Sylvia Afriyie, Yang, Rongchang, Robertson, Ian, Ayi, Irene, Squire, Daniel Sai, Ryan, Una
Parasitology research 2018 v.117 no.10 pp. 3183-3194
Dicrocoelium, Diphyllobothrium latum, Fasciola, Moniezia, Necator americanus, Paramphistomum, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, Thysaniezia, Toxocara, Trichostrongylus axei, Trichuris, cattle, farmers, feces, gastrointestinal system, genetic similarity, genotyping, goats, hookworms, microscopy, mixed infection, polymerase chain reaction, public health, sheep, Ghana
To identify the gastrointestinal helminths of veterinary, zoonotic and public health importance in farmers and their ruminant livestock in Ghana, faecal samples were collected from 95 farmers and their livestock (cattle = 328, sheep = 285 and goats = 217) and examined by microscopy and/or molecular techniques. Overall, 21 farmers tested positive for at least one gastrointestinal helminth, 80.9% of which were single infections and 19.0% co-infections. The parasites identified in the farmers consisted of hookworms (n = 13) (9 were Necator americanus and the other 4 could not be amplified by PCR), Trichostrongylus spp. (n = 9), Schistosoma mansoni (n = 1), Schistosoma haematobium (n = 1) and Diphyllobothrium latum (n = 1). In livestock, strongylid nematodes were dominant (56.6%), followed by Paramphistomum spp. (16.9%), Dicrocoelium spp. (7.1%), Thysaniezia spp. (5.8%), Trichuris spp. (3.3%), Moniezia spp. (3.1%), Fasciola spp. (2.8%), Toxocara spp. (1.1%) and Schistosoma spp. (0.2%). Genotyping of Trichostrongylus spp. in the farmer’s stools identified six T. colubriformis similar to T. colubriformis detected in cattle, sheep and goats in the study, two Trichostrongylus spp. with 98.3% and 99.2% genetic similarity to T. probolurus respectively and one Trichostrongylus spp. which showed 96.6% similarity to both T. probolurus and T. rugatus. Trichostrongylus axei was also identified in cattle, sheep and goats. This is the first molecular characterisation of Trichostrongylus spp. in Ghana and the species identified in the present study suggests zoonotic transmission from cattle, sheep and goats. Further studies involving larger numbers of farmers and their household members are essential to understand the transmission dynamics and impact of these parasites on farming communities in Ghana.