Original Research

Prevalence of helminth parasites in free-range chickens from selected rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa

S. Mukaratirwa, M.P. Khumalo
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 81, No 2 | a113 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v81i2.113 | © 2010 S. Mukaratirwa, M.P. Khumalo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 2010 | Published: 08 May 2010

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S. Mukaratirwa,
M.P. Khumalo,

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A total of 79 chickens were randomly collected from 4 rural localities and processed to detect the presence of helminth parasites and their prevalences. Sixteen helminth species comprising 12 nematode and 4 cestode species were recorded from the 4 localities. Syngamus trachea and Cyathostoma spp. were the only helminth species recovered from the respiratory tract and the rest of the helminth species were from the gastrointestinal tract. The most prevalent nematode species across the 4 localities were Heterakis gallinarum (prevalence range 80-94.4 %), Gongylonema ingluvicola (43.3-86.7 %), Tetrameres americana (53.3-66.7 %) and Ascaridia galli (22.2-43.8 %) and for cestode species, Raillietina tetragona(16.7-40 %) and Skrijabinia cesticillus (3.3-13.3 %) were the most prevalent in that order.Heterakis gallinarum and T. americana had the highest intensity of infection in chickens acrossall the rural areas compared with other helminth species. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) observed in the sex distribution for As. galli, Baruscapillaria obsignata (syn. Capillaria obsignata), Eucoleus annulatus (syn. Capillaria annulata), Eucoleus contortus (syn. Capillaria contorta) and Subulura suctoria among the 4 rural areas. However, a significant difference (P<0.05) was observed in the intensity of infection of both males and females for H. gallinarum and T. americana across the 4 localities studied. Tetrameres americana, A. galli, C. obsignata and C. annulata had prevalence and number of females higher than that of males, while H. gallinarum showed the opposite. Prevalence of H. gallinarum and T. americana as determined by faecal egg count were much lower compared with the prevalence as determined by post mortem examination, confirming the limitation of using faecal samples in determining the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminth parasites in chickens.


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