Survival of bird schistosomes in mammalian lungs

Int J Parasitol. 2000 Jan;30(1):65-8. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7519(99)00174-5.


Bird schistosome cercariae have a low specificity to vertebrate skin and, thus, they are also able to penetrate into mammals. As a consequence, a hypersensitive skin response-cercarial dermatitis-develops. It was thought that the parasites die in the skin soon after penetration. Our results on Trichobilharzia szidati and Bilharziella polonica in the non-specific murine host confirm that some of the penetrating bird schistosomes may fully transform to schistosomula and migrate to the lungs. They persist there for up to 10days post exposure. In a duck, the worms grow and feed rapidly, but in a mouse the lung schistosomula seem to be inhibited in their development. However, TEM results show that there is no damage to the tegument of these larvae and no immune effector cells attack the parasites. These results suggest that the parasite's failure in the murine host might be caused by some immunologically unrelated factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ducks / parasitology*
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / veterinary*
  • Lymnaea
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / parasitology*
  • Schistosomatidae / anatomy & histology
  • Schistosomatidae / parasitology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Trematode Infections / veterinary*