Gastrointestinal helminths and external parasites of domestic rats trapped from residential areas within Maiduguri Municipality, Nigeria
A survey of domestic rats was conducted to investigate the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths and external parasites in Maiduguri municipal between February and June 2015. Rats were randomly collected from residential sites within Maiduguri metropolis by trapping using mechanical and glue board traps. Trapped rats were examined for external parasites, humanely sacrificed and subjected to detailed postmortem examination for recovery of gastrointestinal helminths using standard methods. Parasites were identified using key morphological characteristics. Out of 85 rats sampled in the study, a total of 7(8.2%) were positive for gastrointestinal helminths. The only species of helminth identified was Hymenolepis diminuta. There was no significant difference in prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths among different age groups and sexes (P>0.05). The overall prevalence of ectoparasites was 9.4% and there was no significant difference in prevalence rates among different age groups and sexes (P>0.05). The prevalence of flea (5.9%) was higher than lice (3.5%). The two species of ectoparasites identified in the study were Ctenocephalides canis (5.9%) and Polyplax spinulosa (3.5%). It was concluded from this study that domestic rats trapped from Maiduguri harbor some species of endoparasites and ectoparasites which are potentially zoonotic or may serve as vectors of important zoonotic pathogens.
Keywords: Domestic rats, Ecto-parasites, Gastrointestinal helminths, Maiduguri, Prevalence