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Concept: Anguilla


BACKGROUND: Although tick-borne diseases are important causes of morbidity and mortality in dogs in tropical areas, there is little information on the agents causing these infections in the Caribbean. METHODOLOGY: We used PCRs to test blood from a cross-section of dogs on St Kitts for Ehrlichia (E.) canis, Babesia (B.) spp., Anaplasma (A.) spp. and Hepatozoon (H.) spp. Antibodies against E. canis and A. phagocytophilum/platys were detected using commercial immunochromatography tests. Records of the dogs were examined retrospectively to obtain clinical and laboratory data. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: There was serological and/or PCR evidence of infections of dogs with E. canis (27%; 46/170), Babesia spp. (24%; 90/372) including B. canis vogeli (12%; 43/372) and B. gibsoni (10%; 36/372), A. platys (11%; 17/157) and H. canis (6%; 15/266). We could not identify the Babesia sp. detected in nine dogs. There was evidence of multiple infections with dual infections with E. canis and B. canis vogeli (8%; 14/179) or B. gibsoni (7%; 11/170) being the most common. There was agreement between immunochromatography and PCR test results for E. canis for 87% of dogs. Only 13% of exposed dogs had signs of a tick-borne disease and 38% had laboratory abnormalities. All 10 dogs presenting for a recheck after treatment of E. canis with doxycycline were apparently healthy although all remained seropositive and six still had laboratory abnormalities despite an average of two treatments with the most recent being around 12 months previously. Infections with Babesia spp. were also mainly subclinical with only 6% (4/67) showing clinical signs and 13% (9/67) having laboratory abnormalities. Similarly, animals with evidence of infections with A. platys and H. canis were largely apparently healthy with only occasional laboratory abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS: Dogs are commonly infected with tick-borne pathogens in the Caribbean with most having no clinical signs or laboratory abnormalities.

Concepts: Apicomplexa, Lyme disease, Tick, Caribbean, Ehrlichiosis, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Kitts, Anguilla


As there is little data on vector-borne diseases of cats in the Caribbean region and even around the world, we tested feral cats from St Kitts by PCR to detect infections with Babesia, Ehrlichia and spotted fever group Rickettsia (SFGR) and surveyed them for antibodies to Rickettsia rickettsii and Ehrlichia canis.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Rickettsia, France, Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Kitts, Anguilla, Indies


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease of global importance. Very little information is available on Leptospira infection in nonhuman primates. We report herein a high seroprevalence (49.4%; 95% confidence interval: 41.6-57.2%) to Leptospira serovars in vervet monkeys ( Chlorocebus sabeus) on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts. Monkeys bred in captivity ( n = 81) had a significantly higher seroprevalence compared to wild-caught monkeys ( n = 81; p < 0.05). Seroprevalence to serovar Bataviae was significantly higher in monkeys bred in captivity and was higher to serovar Bratislava in wild-caught monkeys ( p < 0.05). Our data confirm that exposure to various Leptospira serovars and seroconversion occurs in wild and captive vervet monkeys on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts. Further studies are warranted to better understand epidemiology, transmission, pathology, and possible reservoir status in this species.

Concepts: Primate, North America, Caribbean, Leptospirosis, Chlorocebus, Saint Kitts, Anguilla, Vervet Monkey


The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in St. Kitts and Nevis, islands of the West Indies, is unknown. We sought to determine estimates of CKD and its risk factors (e.g. diabetes, hypertension and obesity) in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Epidemiology, Hypertension, Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Kitts, Anguilla, Nevis


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira spp.  Leptospirosis is maintained in an environment due to chronic kidney infection of a wide variety of domestic, peridomestic and wild reservoir mammals. In this study the role of pigs in maintenance of leptospires on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts was investigated.

Concepts: Mammal, Swine influenza, North America, Caribbean, Zoonosis, Leptospirosis, Saint Kitts, Anguilla


This study provides the first ultrastructural data of spermatozoa in the genus Lecithochirium. The spermatozoa of L. microstomum (from Trichiurus lepturus in Senegal) and L. musculus (from Anguilla anguilla in Corsica) exhibit the general pattern described in the great majority of the Digenea, namely two axonemes with the 9 + "1" pattern typical of the Trepaxonemata, one mitochondrion, a nucleus, parallel cortical microtubules and external ornamentation of the plasma membrane. Spermatozoa of L. microstomum and L. musculus have some specific features such as the presence of a reduced number of cortical microtubules arranged on only one side of the spermatozoon, the lack of spine-like bodies and expansion of the plasma membrane. The external ornamentation of the plasma membrane entirely covers the anterior extremity of the spermatozoa. The ultrastructure of the posterior extremity of the spermatozoa corresponds to the pattern previously described in the Hemiuridae, characterized by only singlets of the second axoneme. A particularity of these spermatozoa is the organization of the microtubule doublets of the second axoneme around the nucleus in the posterior part of the spermatozoon.

Concepts: Cell, Bacteria, Eukaryote, Cytosol, Flagellum, Cytoskeleton, Mitosis, Anguilla


A total of 80 specimens of the European eel Anguilla anguilla were collected during the period from February 2013 to March 2014 at the coast of the Gulf of Suez (Red Sea, Egypt). A new species of parasitic nematodes was recovered and described as Cucullanus egyptae. It was found in the eel’s intestine with a prevalence of 68.7 %. The morphology of the recovered parasite was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy. The adult worms had a wide cephalic extremity with a slit-like oral aperture being surrounded by a cuticular ring and delimited internally by a row of small teeth in addition to four sub-median cephalic papillae and one pair of lateral amphids. Body measurements showed that the male worms were smaller than females measuring 7.5-8.9 mm (8.3 ± 0.2) in length and 1.6-1.9 mm (1.8 ± 0.1) in width. Females measured 12.9-13.5 mm (13.1 ± 0.2) in length and 2.9-3.2 mm (3.1 ± 0.1) in width. The posterior end of the males is provided with ten pairs of caudal papillae and two long spicules which are slightly sclerotized, equal in size measuring 0.59-0.65 mm (0.62 ± 0.01) in length. Comparing the present worms with other species of the genus Cucullanus, several similarities were observed. However, peculiar new characteristics such as the precloacal sucker (especially the spicula length), the arrangement and the distribution of the post-cloacal papillae, and the position of the excretory pore make it reasonable to describe a new species. The sequence data of the small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) obtained from the present nematode supported its taxonomic position within the genus Cucullanus. The new species is closely related to the first clade of Spirurina and even more closely related to Cucullanus dodsworthi as a sister taxon with a high percentage of identity. The sequence of the recorded SSU rDNA of this parasite is deposited in the GenBank with the accession no. KF681520. It is proposed to name the new species C. egyptae as the first representative of Cucullanidae in Egypt with a new host record.

Concepts: Nematode, Phylogenetics, Cladistics, Units of measurement, Eel, Red Sea, Anguilla, European eel


This study investigated growth, condition and development of American eels Anguilla rostrata that were introduced into a European river to estimate their competitive potential in a non-native habitat. Results demonstrate that A. rostrata develops normally in European waters and successfully competes with the native European eel Anguilla anguilla. In addition, A. rostrata appears to be more susceptible to the Asian swimbladder nematode Anguillicola crassus than A. anguilla and could support the further propagation of this parasite. Detected differences in fat content and gonad mass between Anguilla species are assumed to reflect species-specific adaptations to spawning migration distances. This study indicates that A. rostrata is a potential competitor for the native fauna in European fresh waters and suggests strict import regulations to prevent additional pressure on A. anguilla and a potential further deterioration of its stock situation.

Concepts: Eel, Anguillidae, Anguilla, European eel, Eel life history, American eel, Jellied eels, Anguillicola crassus


Amblyomma variegatum is an important cause of morbidity, mortality and economic losses in Africa and the West Indies. Attempts to control and/or eradicate the tick from the Caribbean have largely been unsuccessful because of difficulties relating to the biology of the three-host tick and problems with applying acaricides on a regular basis to free-ranging domestic ruminants. While plastic collars impregnated with insecticides are widely and effectively used in companion animals to control external parasites there is little information on this technology in ruminants.

Concepts: Atlantic Ocean, South America, Caribbean, Atlantic slave trade, Saint Kitts, Barbados, Anguilla, Indies


This study is the first comprehensive documentation of the geographical range of Anguillicola crassus in its host, the European eel Anguilla anguilla, in the Republic of Ireland. The prevalence and intensity of infections across 234 sites and 93 river basins in Ireland comprising rivers, lakes and transitional waters (estuaries) were analysed. While only 32% of the river basins were affected by this nematode, they correspond to 74% of the total wetted area. Significant differences in infection levels among water body types were found with lakes and transitional waters yielding the highest values, which can be attributed to the proportions of juvenile (total length, LT  < 300 mm) A. anguilla caught. There were no significant differences in infection levels between water body types for adult A. anguilla or between sexes for any water body type. Prevalence was significantly lower in juvenile compared with adult A. anguilla captured in rivers and a positive correlation between infection levels and host size-classes was found. Future efforts should focus on monitoring the spread of A. crassus infections and assessing the swimbladder health of A. anguilla in Ireland.

Concepts: Water, Republic of Ireland, Drainage basin, Republic, Stream, Eel, Anguilla, European eel