Trichinella papuae and Trichinella zimbabwensis induce infection in experimentally infected varans, caimans, pythons and turtles

a1 Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, viale Regina Elena 299, 0061 Rome, Italy
a2 Department of Animal Biology, University of Pavia, Piazza Botta 9, 27100 Pavia, Italy
a3 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies, P.O. Box MP167 Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
a4 Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, P.O. Box CY 551 Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe

Article author query
pozio e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
marucci g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
casulli a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sacchi l   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mukaratirwa s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
foggin c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
la rosa g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The discovery of Trichinella zimbabwensis in farm crocodiles of Zimbabwe has opened up a new frontier in the epidemiology of the Trichinella genus. The objective of the present study was to investigate the infectivity of encapsulated species (T. spiralis, T. nativa, T. britovi, T. murrelli and T. nelsoni) and non-encapsulated species (T. pseudospiralis, T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis) in caimans (Caiman crocodilus), varans (Varanus exanthematicus), pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) and turtles (Pelomedusa subrufa) raised at their natural temperature range (26–32 °C). Mice and chickens were used as controls. At 6 days post-infection (p.i.), adult worms were detected in the small intestine of reptiles infected with T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis, of chickens infected with T. pseudospiralis and of mice infected with all encapsulated and non-encapsulated species. At 60 days p.i., T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis adult worms were collected from the intestine of varans and caimans and larvae from muscles of the four reptile species, T. pseudospiralis larvae from muscles of chickens, and larvae of all Trichinella species from mouse muscles. The highest reproductive capacity index of both T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis was observed in varans. The results show that T. papuae and T. zimbabwensis are able to complete their entire life-cycle in both poikilothermic and homoiothermic animals.

(Received August 12 2003)
(Revised September 12 2003)
(Accepted September 15 2003)

Key Words: Trichinella papuae; Trichinella zimbabwensis; reptile; caiman; varan; python; turtle; body temperature; experimental infection.

c1 Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy. Tel: +39 06 4990 2304. Fax: +39 06 4938 7065. E-mail: