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Parasitol Res. 2005 May;96(2):127-32. Epub 2005 Apr 12.

Seasonal prevalence and intensity of hookworms (Uncinaria spp.) in California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) pups born in 2002 on San Miguel Island, California.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Science, Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0099, USA. elyons1@uky.edu


Intestines of California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) pups (n= 204), born in 2002 on San Miguel Island, California, were examined for hookworms (Uncinaria spp.) as part of a seasonal mortality study from June through December 2002 and January 2003. The investigation was planned to coincide with most of the previously established hookworm infection period of the pups. Prevalence of hookworms in dead pups was 100% for each month of the study. The geometric mean intensity of infections per month was: 94.03 (n=30) for June, 629.09 (n=50) for July, 319.90 (n=31) for August, 159.90 (n=30) for October, 109.03 (n=30) for November, 37.84 (n=24) for December 2002 and 11.05 (n=9) for January 2003. In addition to the temporal pattern, the infection intensity was higher for pups in good condition and for male pups. An inter-year comparison of hookworm counts from dead pups collected in July of 1996, 2000, and 2002 also demonstrated higher intensity in pups in better condition but sex-differences in intensity were inconsistent across years. The inter-year comparison also demonstrated higher intensities in dead pups collected from portions of the rookery with sandy substrate versus rocky substrate. No annual differences in intensity were found after adjusting for substrate and condition.

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