Sparganosis in wild-caught baboons (Papio cynocephalus anubis)

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Sparganosis is the infection of a paratenic host with the plerocercoid metacestode of Spirometra spp. A 12-year-old captive, pregnant, wild-caught baboon from Tanzania had multiple subcutaneous nodules.


Examination of the biopsied nodules revealed the presence of viable metacestodes. The histological morphology of the metacestodes was consistent with the genus Spirometra and other pseudophyllidean cestodes. Since species of Spirometra produce growth hormones that are active in mammals, we measured fetal and placental growth and hormone levels. Blood samples were taken from the mother and the cesarean-derived fetus for hematological, biochemical, and hormonal analyses and to test for the presence of antispargana antibodies.


Baboon placental weight and fetal hematological, biochemical, and morphometric parameters were within normal ranges. Antibody titers to spargana did not differ significantly between mother (1.08 OD405) and fetus (0.91 OD405). Baboon maternal insulin-like growth factor and growth hormone values were also within the normal range. Estradiol and progesterone analysis in four of these animals (antibody titers ranged from 0.71 to 1.7 OD405) showed no statistically significant difference with age- or phase-matched cycle parameters compared with antibody-negative females.


Based on the results that have been obtained, sparganosis did not appear to affect the endocrinological profile of pregnant and cycling female baboons.

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