Field study of parasitic zoonoses in the Limpopo National Park area.

SECOSUD, in agreement and collaboration with the Centre of Biotechnology of the UEM, has started a series of studies concerning some infectious diseases of particular interest for local communities, farmed livestock and wildlife that lives in the area of the Limpopo National Park.


In an environment shared by all three categories listed (Wildlife, Livestock and Humans), it is of fundamental importance to assess, from the health point of view, how the diseases spread and pass from one population to another. Starting from these bases, we tried to focus our attention on a series of diseases that could respect some important parameters:

  1. Agreement on the basic criteria for the (candidate) disease selection, e.g.:
    – Severe zoonosis and relevant to at least 2 of the macro populations (W, L or H)
    – Impact of poverty and rural industries
    – Significant for local populations
    – OIE transmittable disease list (A & B) as a starting reference;
  2. Review of existing information, including grey literature, with emphasis on epidemiology, structured analyses and combined studies;
  3. Identification of key diseases and specific research protocol drafting.
Field collection
Preparation of samples in the field

The first objective identified is the study of cystic echinococcosis (CE), is a zoonosis caused by the larval stage of the species complex of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s. l.). This disease still represents a major public health concern worldwide and is currently among the five most frequently parasitic zoonoses (Varcasia et al., 2011). This disease was known since the ancient times, as the tales of Aristotle and Hippocrates testify (Sotiraki et al., 2003). Starting from previous works in the geographic areas of interest, we try to integrate the information already available with field studies that could be adapted to logistic and scientific needs. Our focus will be on parasitic diseases that have different implications for the health of humans, wild animals and livestock. The first step is to evaluate the health status of livestock and once clarified this issue, the risk for human populations and how these diseases may have an interface between wild and livestock will be assessed. As a study area the Limpopo National Park, with an area of about 1000000 ha has been chosen. It is part of the Great Limpopo Transforntier Conservation Area and is a target area for the SECOSUD II project.

Livestock_massingir
Collection of blood samples from livestock in Massingir

The epidemiological study will focus on the interfaces livestock / wildlife / human populations. Transmission of CE depends on several factors such as high number of dogs, prevalence of illegal slaughtering and other socioeconomic and cultural conditions.
The genetic diversity of E. granulosus s. l. species complex is considerably high and has been divided into genotypes (genotype groups) G1-G10 (Bowles et al. 1992, 1994; Lavikainen et al. 2003). The evidence of various morphological, host range and life cycle differences between genotypes have given grounds to consider several of these genotypes as separate species: E. granulosus sensu stricto (s. s.; G1 and G3), E. equinus (G4), E. ortleppi (G5) and E. canadensis (G6-G10) (Thompson and McManus, 2002; Lymbery, 2017; Yanagida et al. 2017), even recently it has been suggested that G6/G7 and G8/G10 are in fact two distinct species (Laurimäe et al. Submitted, 2018). However, no information is available about the role of different genotypes of E. granulosus in Mozambique. Therefore, the goal of the present survey is to carry out an epidemiological study on the presence of E. granulosus in cattle, sheep and goats from Mozambique and, also, to evaluate the species and strains circulating in these animals, with the aim to contribute in a better definition of their role in the transmission dynamics of Cystic Echinococcosis in this African country.

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This image contains: raw animal tissue, blood, cystic liquid

Echinococcus cystic
Drainage of liquid from echinococcus cystic

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