Rodents are known as the reservoir of various zoonotic diseases and play a critical role in the transmission of pathogenic agents to humans. During an investigation on rodent reservoirs of leptospirosis in Caspian Sea littoral, northern Iran, we took advantage of the opportunity to examine the animals for intestinal helminth infections.
We received gastrointestinal tracts (GITs) of 132 rodents belonged to the genus Rattus, from Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan Provinces. The GIT of the animals had been preserved in 10% formalin and transferred to Helminthology Laboratory of School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. We examined the GITs contents for helminths under a binocular followed by a microscope with different magnifications and identified the specimens according to reliable morphological keys.
Out of the 132 rats, 83 (62.87%) harbored helminth parasites. We identified 11 helminth species among which the zoonotic cestodes, Hymenolepis diminuta (29.5%) and Hymenolepis nana (18.18%) exhibited the highest prevalence. The species Euparyphium murinum and Skerjabinotaenia abnormalis are reported here for the first time from Iran.
The Caspian Sea littoral of Iran is a suitable area for the breeding of the commensal rodents. In this study, the rats from this area exhibited a high burden of helminth infections, with some species of public health importance.