Cathaemasia hians infection in Black stork in Slovakia: morphological and histopathological study

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Cathaemasia hians is an obligate trematode parasite of Black storks that are on the List of protected birds in Europe. In the present study, adult trematodes were isolated from the Black stork post mortem and morphological study revealed C. hians species. In total, 10 worms were found in the oesophagus and the ventriculus of the bird. Histopathological examination of the tissue samples of oesophagus, proventriculus and ventriculus was performed on paraffin sections using a set of staining procedures. The sporadic lesions were seen in the tela submucosa of oesophagus containing connective tissue mast cells, eosinophils and heterophils and some foci were surrounded by the fibrous tissue. In addition, a few inflammatory nodules had larval-like material inside, probably being of the same species. There were no visible morphological alterations in the epithelial layer of lamina propria mucosae of proventriculus, rich in goblet cells as well as in the tela submucosa. Majority of trematodes were localized in the ventriculus, where the lamina propria mucosae was damaged or disrupted sporadically. In these sites, in the tela submucosa, a various food-originated inorganic/organic material and eggs of C. hians were deposited, stimulating a weak inflammatory response. Nodules containing larvae were not observed in any of ventriculus tissue layers. This study demonstrated, for the first time, infection with adults of C. hians trematode in the Black stork nesting in Slovakia. The presence of larvae and eggs in the tissues of the upper gastrointestinal tract of bird was associated with mild inflammatory response but feeding behaviour of adult worms in the ventriculus probably contributed to the enhanced susceptibility of the lamina propria mucosae to mechanical damage by inorganic material. Although larval stages have not yet been documented in the intermediate hosts in Slovakia, our report indicates that the life cycle of C. hians might occur in Central Europe.

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