Observations on Cattle Schistosomiasis in the Sudan, a Study in Comparative Medicine

II. Experimental Demonstration of Naturally Acquired Resistance to Schistosoma bovis

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  • Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Khartoum, Department of Medical Helminthology and Tropical Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Department of Veterinary Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Khartoum, Sudan

Epizootiological observations on Schistosoma bovis in cattle at Kosti, Sudan, showed a significant fall in age-specific prevalence and intensity with age, based on fecal egg count. To test the possibility that this is due to acquired resistance, Kosti cattle and a control group of cattle of similar breed and age from a nonenzootic area were experimentally challenged with 70,000 S. bovis cercariae. Clinical observations showed very clearly that the Kosti cattle were able to withstand almost completely the effects of the challenge, whereas the controls developed lethal infections. Resistance was further demonstrated by clear differences between the two groups in terms of their body weights, hematological measurements, histopathological and pathophysiological responses, and worm and egg counts. The data suggested that the main basis of the resistance was a suppression of egg production by the worms from the challenge, rather than absolute prevention of their maturation. There was also evidence of a suppression of the fecundity of worms in the naturally infected Kosti cattle.