Volume 32, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Studies in the White Nile area of the Sudan have shown that Zebu cattle acquire a high degree of resistance to as a result of repeated natural exposures without, however, being able to eliminate their populations of adult schistosomes, although these do show greatly suppressed fecundity. To test whether these adult worms are necessary for the maintenance of resistance we cured six “naturally resistant” cattle (TC group) with a double treatment of 25 mg/kg praziquantel and compared their response to a 70,000 cercariae challenge with groups of “naturally resistant” but untreated cattle (UC group) and with previously unexposed, challenged cattle (CC group). Challenge was carried out 7 weeks after the second dose of praziquantel. The results confirmed that untreated cattle are “naturally resistant” and also showed that resistance was abrogated by cure of the naturally-acquired infections. Thus, fecal egg counts after challenge reached mean maxima of 2,432 eggs per gram (epg) in the CC, but only 5 epg and 28 epg in the TC and UC groups, respectively. Similarly, mean worm counts were 85% and 69% lower in the TC and UC groups, respectively, and mean tissue egg densities were reduced by 72–99%, and 56–80%. Histopathologically, the TC and UC groups were also far less affected than the CC. Effective praziquantel treatment does therefore not destroy naturally acquired resistance to , and may benefit infected livestock even in the absence of transmission control. The situation in human schistosomiasis is less clear, but there are several epidemiological and experimental indications of a similar conclusion for .


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