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Acta Trop. 2010 Sep;115(3):194-9. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2010.01.005. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

The giant African snail Achatina fulica as natural intermediate host of Angiostrongylus cantonensis in Pernambuco, northeast Brazil.

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Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz, Manguinhos, RJ, Brazil. <>


The human cases of eosinophilic meningitis recently reported from Brazil have focused the attention of the public health agencies on the role the introduced snail Achatina fulica plays as hosts of the metastrongylid nematodes. Determining the potential of this snail to host and develop infective larval stages of metastrongylids in the wild and identify the species harbored by them is crucial for designing effective control measures. Here we assess if A. fulica may act as intermediate host of A. cantonensis at the peridomiciliary areas of a patient's house from state of Pernambuco (PE), who was diagnosed with eosinophilic meningitis and a history of ingesting raw molluscs. Larvae obtained from naturally infected A. fulica were orally administered to Rattus norvegicus. The worms were collected from the pulmonary artery and brain, and were morphologically characterized and compared to the Japan isolate of A. cantonensis. Adult worms and infective L(3) larvae (PE isolate) recovered from A. fulica specimens were also analyzed by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism of ITS2 region from rDNA and compared to A. cantonensis (ES isolate), A. vasorum (MG isolate) and A. costaricensis (RS isolate). The large size of the spicules (greater than those observed in other species of Angiostrongylus) and the pattern of the bursal rays agree with the original species description by Chen (1935). Furthermore, the morphology of the PE isolate was similar to that of Japan isolate. The PCR-RFLP profiles obtained were distinctive among species and no variation in patterns was detected among adult individuals from A. cantonensis isolates from PE and ES. The importance of A. fulica as an intermediate host of eosinophilic menigoencepahlitis in Brazil is emphasized.

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