Very highly prevalent Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus infection of wild boar Sus scrofa in Khuzestan province, south-western Iran

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An epidemiological and pathological study of Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus infection in a total of 50 wild boars Sus scrofa attila from cane sugar fields of Iranian Khuzestan was performed. The total prevalence of 64.0 % detected is the highest hitherto known by this acanthocephalan species in wild boars and may reflect a very high contamination of the farm lands studied as the consequence of the crowding of the wild boar population in cane sugar fields. Observations prove that this species is a wild boar gut wall perforating acanthocephalan. High burdens may become so pathogenic for the host individual as to be responsible for its elimination from the population. Thus, this acanthocephalan may play a role in the control of the S. scrofa population inhabiting cane sugar fields, only lowly infected boars being able to survive. In this way, M. hirudinaceus may be useful, as the wild boar is a serious pest of field corps and, moreover, causes a variety of damage to cane sugar fields because of using them for shelter and nesting areas. Such high prevalence in wild boars and presumably high contamination of cane sugar fields represent a human infection risk for farmers, as well as for concrete ethnic group minorities in Iran. The numerous M. hirudinaceus human infection cases reported so far, mainly in Asian countries, support such a risk situation.

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