ECTO AND INTESTINAL ENDO-PARASITIC FAUNA OF BUSHMEAT IN NSUKKA ECOLOGICAL ZONE, NIGERIA
A study was carried out between December 2012 and July 2014 in Nsukka, Southeast Nigeria, with the aims of determining the prevalence, intensity and abundance of ecto and intestinal end-oparasitic fauna of bushmeat and evaluating bushmeat supplier’s knowledge, attitude about zoonotic wildlife parasites and the risk of transmission to human. We sampled 143 bushmeat animals belonging to 9 species. Out of the 143 examined, 114 were infected with at least one ectoparasite while 141 were infected with at least one intestinal parasite representing about 79.7%% and 98.6% infection respectively. The parasites encountered were ectoparasites (ticks, fleas, lice, mites) and intestinal parasites (nematodes, plathyhelminthes, acantocephalans, protozoans). Among the ectoparasites identified, tick Amblyomma sp showed the highest prevalence of 24.5%, mean intensity of 8.97 and mean abundance of 2.20, at 95% CI (18.03 – 32.13), 95% CI (6.75 – 12.00 ) and 95% CI (1.45 – 3.19) respectively while, Ascaris sp nematode was the overall most prevalent intestinal parasite (48.8%) at 95% CI (36.69 – 53.15) and mean abundance of 116.08 at 95% CI (89.51 – 148.95) but highest mean intensity was recorded in protozoan parasites of genus Eimeria (Eimeria sp) 500.00 at 95% CI (307.65 – 961.54). There was no difference (P > 0.05) in the prevalence of the ecto and intestinal parasites according to season. No difference was observed on the prevalence of the ectoparasitic infestations according to sex, except Ixodes sp and no difference was observed in the prevalence of the ectoparasitic infection according to age, except Rhipicephalus sp and Polyplax sp which significantly differed. A statistical difference was observed in intensity of Amblyomma sp and Damalina sp when dry and rainy season animals were compared. A rstatistical difference was observed in intensity of Amblyomma sp when we compared infected juvenile and adult animals. Apart from Dicrocoeluim sp no other intestinal parasite differed significantly in prevalence when male and female animals were compared. Ascaris sp was also observed to be statistically higher in prevalence in adult animals than in the juvenile animals. The effect of age on the intensity of parasites did not differ between juvenile and adult animals (P >0.05) and did not differ in male and in female animals except for Strongyloides sp, Ascaris sp, Oesophagostomum sp and Moniliformis sp that showed significant difference. The was no seasonal difference in intensity of the intestinal parasite except in Taenia sp and Entamoeba sp that differed. Bushmeat supplier’s knowledge of zoonosis showed that very low percentage of the respondents knew that one can get infection from bushmeat. Specifically, 0% of the participants have ever received information from any source about the risk of zoonotic infections. 88% and 29% of the hunters and traders respectively were comfortable with their level of understanding of zoonotic diseases acquired through bushmeat contact, while 53% and 48% respectively were comfortable with their level of understanding of ways to prevent such diseases. High percentage of respondents reported they were not at all concerned about bushmeat-associated infections. A very high percentage have been bitten by ectoparasites. These show a low that the level of awareness among the supplier’s of bushmeat in Nsukka community. The results of this study suggest that the bushmeat in Nsukka ecological zone, were reservoirs of various parasites of medical and veterinary importance and that animal health planners should design zoonotic awareness interventions targeted to reach these hunters and traders through radio and other communication channel on a regular basis to enable them improve on their practice and reduce the spread of zoonotic infection.