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      Intestinal helminths infection of rats ( Ratus norvegicus) in the Belgrade area (Serbia): the effect of sex, age and habitat* Translated title: Helminthoses intestinales du rat ( Ratus norvegicus) dans la région de Belgrade (Serbie) en fonction du sexe, de l’âge et de l’habitat

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          Gastrointestinal helminths of Norway rat ( Rattus norvegicus) from the Belgrade area were studied as a part of a wider ecological research of rats in Serbia (data on the distribution, population ecology, economic and epizoothiological-epidemiological importance, and density control). Rats were captured from May 2005 to July 2009 at both urban and suburban-rural sites. Of a total of 302 trapped rats 48% were males and 52% females, with 36.5% and 38.8% of juvenile-subadult individuals, per sex respectively. Intestinal helminth infection was noted in 68.5% of rats, with a higher prevalence in male hosts and in adult individuals. Higher numbers of infected juveniles-subadults were noted in suburban-rural habitats, while an opposite tendency was noted in adult rats. Seven helminth species were recovered, of which five were nematode ( Heterakis spumosa, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Capillaria sp., Trichuris muris and Syphacia muris) and two cestode species ( Hymenolepis diminuta and Rodentolepis fraterna). The most prevalent parasites were Heterakis spumosa (36.7%) and Hymenolepis diminuta (30.5%). Sex and habitat-related differences were noted in the prevalence of infection with Capillaria sp. and Trichuris muris, while there were no age-related differences in the prevalence of infection with any individual helminth species. Significantly higher prevalence of infection was noted in summer as compared to spring or winter, with a tendency to be higher in autumn as compared to spring. The only significant difference in the prevalence of infection between habitat-related was noted during spring. H. spumosa was most prevalent in summer, while H. diminuta and N. brasiliensis in autumn. The mean intensity of infection with H. spumosa, R. fraterna, S. muris and T. muris was higher in autumn than in the other seasons, while N. brasiliensis and Capillaria sp. occured in winter. No more than four helminth species were found in one host.

          Translated abstract

          Les helminthes digestives de Rattus norvegicus de la région de Belgrade ont été étudiées dans le cadre d’une vaste recherche menée sur les rats en Serbie (répartition et écologie des populations, conséquences économiques et épizoo-épidémiologiques, contrôle des densités de populations). Les rats ont été capturés entre mai 2005 et juillet 2009 en zones urbaines et périurbaines et rurales. Sur un total de 302 captures, on comptait 48 % de mâles et 52 % de femelles, avec respectivement 36,5 % et 38,8 % d’individus juvéniles ou préadultes. Au moins une helminthose intestinale a été retrouvée chez 68,5 % des rats, avec une fréquence plus élevée chez les mâles et les adultes. Un nombre plus important de juvéniles et de préadultes infectés a été observé en zones suburbaines et rurales, avec une tendance inverse chez les adultes. Sept espèces d’helminthes ont été retrouvées, dont cinq nématodes ( Heterakis spumosa, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Capillaria sp., Trichuris muris et Syphacia muris) et deux cestodes ( Hymenolepis diminuta et Rodentolepis fraterna), les plus fréquents étant Heterakis spumosa (36,7 %) et Hymenolepis diminuta (30,5 %). Des variations liées au sexe et à l’habitat ont été notées pour Capillaria sp. et Trichuris muris, mais sans différence liée à l’âge pour chacune des helminthoses. La fréquence des infections était plus importante en été qu’au printemps et en hiver, avec une tendance à être plus élevée en automne qu’au printemps. La seule différence significative selon l’habitat a été observée au printemps. H. spumosa a été plus fréquemment retrouvé en été, H. diminuta et N. brasiliensis en automne. L’intensité moyenne des infections était plus importante en automne pour H. spumosa, R. fraterna, S. muris et T. muris, et en hiver pour N. brasiliensis et Capillaria sp. Un maximum de quatre helminthes a été observé chez un même individu.

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          Most cited references 15

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          A survey of zoonotic pathogens carried by Norway rats in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

          Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) carry several zoonotic pathogens and because rats and humans live in close proximity in urban environments, there exists potential for transmission. To identify zoonotic agents carried by rats in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, we live-trapped 201 rats during 2005-2006 and screened them for a panel of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Antibodies against Seoul virus (57.7%), hepatitis E virus (HEV, 73.5%), Leptospira interrogans (65.3%), Bartonella elizabethae (34.1%), and Rickettsia typhi (7.0%) were detected in Norway rats. Endoparasites, including Calodium hepatica (87.9%) and Hymenolepis sp. (34.4%), and ectoparasites (13.9%, primarily Laelaps echidninus) also were present. The risk of human exposure to these pathogens is a significant public health concern. Because these pathogens cause non-specific and often self-limiting symptoms in humans, infection in human populations is probably underdiagnosed.
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            Possible underlying mechanisms of sexual dimorphism in the immune response, fact and hypothesis.

            It is a confirmed fact that in females both the humoral and cell mediated immune response is more active than in males. A large amount of information supports the view that hormones of the endocrine system are intimately involved in this immunological dimorphism. Such hormones include the gonadal steroids, the adrenal glucocorticoids, growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (Prl) from the pituitary, thymic hormones, and substances generated by activated lymphocytes. It is suggested that a complex medley of these hormonal interactions effect both developing lymphocytes within the microenvironment and regulate adult effector cells. The most important of these hormonal interactions leading to immunological dimorphism are the effects elicited by estrogen (E) elaborated at elevated levels from the female ovary after puberty. Elevated E leads to basal GH secretion, increased Prl, and increased thymosin release, all of which are hypothesized to effect lymphocyte development and stimulate adult T- and B-cell function in females. Interactions of hormonal regulatory axes involving the hypothalamus, pituitary, gonads, adrenals, and thymus are also thought to be involved. Factors elaborated by activated immune cells including IL-1 and IL-2 may also play a role in down regulation of these responses. Finally, genetic components are also considered pertinent especially under conditions of pathological disequilibrium leading to autoimmune disease. While the benefits provided by immunological dimorphism are still not entirely clarified, since sex hormones are intimately involved in immunological regulation it is quite possible that the increased immune response in females allows them to compensate for the increased physiological stress which accompanies reproduction. The final outcome would thus be the assurance of reproductive success of the species.
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              Parasites of wild brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) on UK farms.

              Wild brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from 11 rural UK farmsteads were found to carry 13 zoonotic and 10 non-zoonotic parasitic species, many of which (e.g. Cryptosporidium, Pasteurella, Listeria, Yersinia, Coxiella and Hantavirus) have rarely or never been previously investigated for wild rats. The study suggests that wild brown rats, serving as vectors of disease, represent a serious risk to the health of humans and domestic animals in the UK.

                Author and article information

                Parasite : journal de la Société Française de Parasitologie
                EDP Sciences
                May 2011
                15 May 2011
                : 18
                : 2 ( publisher-idID: parasite/2011/02 )
                : 189-196
                [1 ] Department of Ecology, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša StankoviĆ”, University of Belgrade Belgrade Serbia
                [2 ] Institute of Meat Hygiene and Technology Belgrade Serbia
                [3 ] Institute for Multidisciplinary Research Belgrade Serbia
                Author notes
                [** ]Correspondence: Dragan Kataranovski. Tel.: 381 11 2078 397 – Fax: 381 11 2761 433 E-mail: dragan@ 123456ibiss.bg.ac.rs
                parasite2011182p189 10.1051/parasite/2011182189
                © PRINCEPS Editions, Paris, 2011

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 51, Pages: 8
                Parasitic zoonoses in Europe


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