Parasitology research | 6 May 2017
ML Wang, HY Chen and HH Shih
Digenetic trematodes of the genus Clinostomum are widely distributed in many species of freshwater fish and are known to cause the zoonotic disease Halzoun. Humans may become accidental hosts if they ingest raw freshwater fish containing metacercaria of Clinostomum complanatum, which causes pharyngitis or laryngitis. The yellow grub parasitizing cultivated ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) and loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) was one of the most serious problems in fish farms from 1977 to 1979 in Taiwan. The present study revealed, for the first time, frequent occurrence of C. complanatum metacercaria in various fish species in a natural environment, the Dahan River, in Taiwan. We examined 1503 fish specimens belonging to four families and 162 snails representing six species. C. complanatum metacercaria was mainly from the fish family Cyprinidae, and only cercaria from the snail Radix swinhoei was recovered. The prevalence and mean intensity of metacercaria were 9.8% and 9.35 parasites/infected fish, respectively. The prevalence of cercaria was low, 0.62%, in snails. Acrossocheilus paradoxus, Zacco barbata, Zacco pachycephalus, Zacco platypus, Onychostoma barbatula, and Hemibarbus labeo are new host records. Metacercariae were primarily found in the operculum, mandible, muscle, and oral cavity of fish. Morphological description and molecular analysis with 18S rDNA sequencing allowed for rapidly identifying C. complanatum. Encysted and excysted metacercariae cultivated at 22 °C in physiological saline died within 60 h. The mean intensity of infection increased with an increasing length of Z. pachycephalus. We found no association between monthly parasite prevalence and mean intensity at each sampling location. No C. complanatum metacercaria survived after 8 h of salting. The Dahan River has suitable conditions and hosts (snails, fish, and fish-eating birds) for maintaining the life cycle of C. complanatum.
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