A survey on the occurrence and epidemiology of the encysted progenetic metacercariae of Euclinostomum heterostomum infection in Channa punctata in the Aligarh region of North India revealed a mean prevalence, intensity, and abundance of 18.61, 1.52, and 0.38%, respectively, during the period from April 2011 to March 2012. Liver, kidney, peritoneum, muscle, and ovary were found to be infected with this parasite, and the later three are reported for the first time in this fish species. The histopathology of the infected tissues indicated the following at the host-parasite interface: tissue damage, infiltration of immune cells into the cyst wall, chronic inflammatory responses, and granulomatous lesions. The infected liver showed degeneration of hepatocytes, cytoplasmic vacuolation, nuclear alterations, mallory body formation, fibrosis, and necrosis. The pathology of the infected kidney included distortion and dilation of renal tubules, vacuolar degeneration, hypertrophy and hyperplasia of tubular epithelial cells, occlusion of tubules, fibrosis, hemorrhage, and congestion of glomeruli. The infected muscle demonstrated comparatively fewer pathological changes confined only to the circumference of the cyst wall. The ovary displayed the least changes. The conclusions drawn from the study are that the large metacercarial cysts formed by E. heterostomum in the vital organs of the economically important fish C. punctata could result in the impairment of fish physiology and health, thereby affecting their productivity and quality for human consumption.
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