Levels of sparganum infections and phylogenetic analysis of the tapeworm Spirometra erinaceieuropaei sparganum in wild frogs from Henan Province in central China

J Helminthol. 2015 Jul;89(4):433-8. doi: 10.1017/S0022149X14000248.


Sparganosis is a serious food-borne parasitic zoonosis caused by infection with Spirometra spargana. The prevalence of sparganum infection in wild frogs (Rana nigromaculata, R. limmochari, R. temporaria and Bufo gargarizans) was investigated in Henan Province of central China during 2008-2012. Of 3482 caught wild frogs, 565 (16.23%) were found to be infected with plerocercoids (spargana) of the genus Spirometra. Spargana were found in 14.85% (320/2155) of R. nigromaculata, 20.82% (233/1119) of R. limmochari and 10.91% (12/110) of R. temporaria frogs. However, no sparganum was found in B. gargarizans. To investigate the phylogenetic position of collected spargana, three mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions, namely cytochrome c oxidase subunits 1 and 3 (cox1 and cox3), and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 (nad4), were amplified, sequenced and analysed. Sequences of cox1, cox3 and pnad4 were 417, 390 and 578 bp in length, respectively. The base composition of cox1, cox3 and pnad4 were generally AT rich with a mean of 63.5%, 68.3% and 67% AT, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all the sparganum isolates in Henan Province represented Spirometra erinaceieuropaei and were a well-supported clade. These findings demonstrated clearly the usefulness of the three mtDNA sequences for molecular identification and population genetics studies of S. erinaceieuropaei spargana of human and animal health significance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild*
  • Cestode Infections / epidemiology
  • Cestode Infections / parasitology
  • Cestode Infections / veterinary*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cytochromes c / genetics
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Ranidae*
  • Sparganosis / epidemiology
  • Sparganosis / parasitology
  • Sparganosis / veterinary*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spirometra / genetics
  • Spirometra / isolation & purification*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Cytochromes c
  • NADH Dehydrogenase