Oesophagostomiasis, a Common Infection of Man in Northern Togo and Ghana

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  • Medical Faculty, Ministry of Health, Lome and Dapaong, Institute of Tropical Medicine, PO Box 9605, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
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Infection with Oesophagostomum sp. is normally considered a rare zoonosis and up to this time its diagnosis has been based on the demonstration of larvae and young adult worms in the typical nodules formed in the intestinal wall. Only in Dapaong, in North Togo, and Bawku, North Ghana, have larger series of clinical cases been described. In the rural areas around these towns, a survey was made in which stool samples were collected and cultured. Third-stage larvae of Oesophagostomum sp. could be found after 5–7 days of incubation at room temperature, and the prevalence of infection with this parasite was often high but varied from one village to another. It was over 30% in seven villages out of the 15 villages surveyed. Anthelmintic treatment resulted in the evacuation of adult males and females of O. bifurcum. It is concluded that O. bifurcum is a locally common parasite of humans, not requiring an animal reservoir for completion of its lifecycle.