Distribution of Ascaris suum in experimentally and naturally infected pigs and comparison with Ascaris lumbricoides infections in humans
This paper describes the distribution of Ascaris suum in experimentally and naturally infected pigs, and offers a comparison with A. lumbricoides infections in humans. In the first study, worms were recovered post-mortem from a group of 38 pigs that had been trickle inoculated with 10 000 infective A. suum eggs twice weekly for 12 weeks. In the second study, worms were collected from a group of 49 pigs that had been kept on a pasture contaminated with infective A. suum eggs for 10
... m eggs for 10 weeks, after which they received treatment with an anthelmintic ; they then were turned out on the same pasture for a second 10-week period before slaughter. The worm burdens of the naturally infected pigs were recorded both at treatment and post-mortem. Mean worm counts were similar at all occasions but the prevalence of infection was higher in the trickle infected and naturally reinfected pigs. Furthermore, the prevalence in naturally infected pigs increased significantly over the study period. Worm burden distributions in all groups were heavily overdispersed, but the distribution patterns differed significantly between groups : lower exposure (initial natural infection) gave a low prevalence and an almost uniform distribution of worm burdens among infected hosts. Continued or higher exposure (trickle and natural reinfection) resulted in increased prevalence and a reduction in the proportion of hosts with increasing worm load. A positive correlation was found between initial and reinfection worm burdens in the naturally infected pig population, suggesting that individual pigs are predisposed to a high or low intensity of infection. The prevalence and intensity as well as the distribution observed for A. suum infection in pigs were comparable to those reported for A. lumbricoides in endemic areas, and there is evidence for predisposition to A. suum in pigs, with an estimated correlation coefficient similar to that found in humans. It is concluded that A. suum infections in pigs are a suitable model to study the population dynamics of A. lumbricoides in human populations.