Osophagostomum sp. Infection in Bonobos

Summary Information

Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names Nodular worm infection.
Disease Agents
  • Osophagostomum sp. eggs: elliptical and almost symmetrical, 75 - 80 x 43-48 Ám, containing morula-stage embryos. (J576.24.w1)
  • Thin-shelled ellipsoidal eggs with rounded ends and containing a dense morula. Size 71.1 (67-75) x 42.3 (39-47) Ám. Compatible in appearance with eggs of the species Osophagostomum stephanostomum and Osophagostomum bifurcum found in Pan troglodytes - Chimpanzee. (B668.14.w14)
  • They were very similar in size to Osophagostomum stephanostomum, one of the seven species which have been recorded in Pan troglodytes - Chimpanzee. (J576.24.w1)
  • These worms are found in the colon, although nodules containing the nematodes may be found on the serosa of multiple abdominal organs. (B336.39.w39)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
Clinical Signs in Great Apes
  • Clinical signs with severe infections may include general unthriftiness and debilitation, also diarrhoea and weight loss.  (B336.39.w39)
Further Information
Occurrence in Bonobos
  • Osophagostomum eggs was found in 5.3 - 28.0% of faecal samples (overall, 17.9%) from the bonobos in different groups sampled at Wamba, October - December 1981. (J576.24.w1)
    • Intensity of infection was usually very low. (J576.24.w1)
  • Osophagostomum infection occurs in wild Pan paniscus - Bonobos, with a significant (P < 0.05) increase in worm burdens after the start of the rainy season. (J552.23.w2)
  • Osophagostomum stephanostomum has been recorded in a wild bonobo. (J576.24.w1)
  • A study of parasites in faeces of bonobos from Lomako, October-December 1998 found Osophagostomum sp. in 50.6% of 87 faecal samples. (B668.14.w14)
Diagnosis in Great Apes
  • Diagnosis is based on identification of eggs in faeces. Note: eggs of Oesophagostomum spp. and Terniens are not distinguishable. (B336.39.w39)
Treatment in Great Apes
  • Benzimidazoles (Fenbendazole, Mebendazole), Ivermectin, Pyrantel pamoate or Levamisole can be used. (B336.39.w39)
  • Note: Wild bonobos appear to self-medicate by swallowing, whole, leaves of Manniophyton fulvum; they also swallow Cola spp. leaves whole, which may have a similar effect. (J552.23.w2)
    • The effect of the leaves is thought to be physical rather than chemical, based on the rough hispid surface of the leaves (covered with stiff hairs), facilitating expulsion of adult nematodes (and of tapeworm fragments). (J552.23.w2)
Prevention in Great Apes
  • Strict sanitation is important. (B336.39.w39)
  • Newly arrived animals should be quarantined and infected individuals should be isolated until they have been treated. (B336.39.w39)
  • A parasite monitoring programme should be used for early detection of infection. (B336.39.w39)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Author Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

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