Kinetics of Egg Production and Egg Excretion by Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum in Mice Infected with a Single Pair of Worms

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  • Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Engineering, Swarthmore College, Bethesda, Maryland

Individual male and female schistosomes approximately three weeks of age were implanted into the portal venous system of C57Bl/6 mice to produce infections with a single pair of Schistosoma mansoni or S. japonicum. Mice were killed between seven and 54 weeks after infection. Worm fecundity was measured by counting eggs accumulating in the tissues and eggs passed in the feces. Schistosoma mansoni worm pairs laid approximately 350 eggs per day with no change in the apparent rate of egg laying between eight and 52 weeks after infection and approximately one-third of the eggs were passed in the feces. Schistosoma japonicum worm pairs laid approximately 2,200 eggs per day initially and this decreased to 1,000 eggs per day by the end of the experiment, with one-third to one-half of the eggs being passed in the feces. There was marked variability in the fecundity of individual worm pairs, but the number of eggs passed in the feces of individual mice correlated well with the number of eggs in the intestines at all time points in S. mansoni-infected mice and at the seventh and tenth week of S. japonicum infection.