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Parasitol Int. 2016 Apr;65(2):151-8. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2015.11.009. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Phylogenetic analysis of nasal avian schistosomes (Trichobilharzia) from aquatic birds in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran.

Author information

Molecular and Cell Biology Research Center, Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.
Museum of Southwestern Biology Division of Parasites, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA.
Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran. Electronic address:


Nasal schistosomes are trematodes in the family Schistosomatidae, many members of which are causative agents of human cercarial dermatitis (HCD). Little is known about the species diversity and distribution of nasal dwelling schistosomes of water birds, particularly in countries outside of Europe; even less is known in countries like Iran. Nasal schistosomes are of particular interest since these species migrate via the central nervous system to the nasal cavity once they penetrate their host. Thus, there must be efforts to determine the incidence of HCD due to nasal schistosomes. HCD outbreaks are reported seasonally in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran, an area well known for rice cultivation leading to increased person contact with water and infected snails. Such places include favorable habitat for both domestic ducks year round, and wild migratory ducks in the winter through spring. Recent reports have detected the presence of both nasal and visceral schistosomes in ducks in this area but with little species characterization. In this study, we examine a diversity of aquatic birds to determine the distribution, prevalence and bird host use of nasal schistosomes. We apply for the first time a molecular identification and phylogenetic analysis of these schistosomes. From 2012 to 2014, the nasal cavity of 508 aquatic birds from Mazandaran Province were examined that included species in Anseriformes, Gruiformes, Charadriiformes and Phoenicopteriformes. Nasal schistosomes were found in 45 (8.9%) birds belonging to Anseriformes (Anas platyrhynchos and Anas clypeata). Phylogenetic analysis of the nuclear internal transcribed spacer 1 rDNA and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase1 gene of isolated eggs revealed that all samples grouped in a sister clade to the European Trichobilharzia regenti. However, Trichobilharzia from this study were more similar to a unique haplotype of Trichobilharzia, isolated from the nasals of an A. clypeata in France. The genetic and phenotypic differences between the species found herein and T. regenti from Europe, may prove with additional data to be a distinct species of Trichobilharzia.


Phylogenetics; avian schistosomes; cox1; haplotype; nasal

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