Helminths of the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) (Berkenhout, 1769) in the city of Palermo, Italy

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A helminthological survey was performed on 143 brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from the city of Palermo (Italy). The overall prevalence of helminth infection was 98.60 %. The following parasites were found: Brachylaima sp. (prevalence 8.39 %) (Trematoda); Taenia taeniaeformis larvae (11.89 %), Rodentolepis nana (13.29 %), Hymenolepis diminuta (24.48 %) (Cestoda); Gongylonema sp., (4.90 %), Syphacia muris (8.39 %), Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (18.88 %), Eucoleus gastricus (30.07 %), Mastophorus muris (30.77 %), Capillaria hepatica (54.55 %), Heterakis spumosa (82.52 %) (Nematoda) and one acanthocephalan (0.70 %). The species found in males were also present in females, with the exception of the acanthocephalan. No significant differences were found between males and females in prevalence (P%) or mean infection intensity (MI). However, a significant correlation between both P% and MI, as well as host age, was observed in some helminth species. Hosts were infected by one to six helminth species (median = 3). This is the first report from Sicily of helminths in R. norvegicus.

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