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Parasitol Res. 2017 Nov;116(11):3205-3210. doi: 10.1007/s00436-017-5640-6. Epub 2017 Oct 7.

The prevalence of protozoa in the gut of German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) with special reference to Lophomonas blattarum.

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Protozoal Respiratory Pathology Research Unit, INCLÍNICA Foundation, Calvo Sotelo 17, 33007, Oviedo, Spain.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Lic. Méndez Nieto, s/n, 37007, Salamanca, Spain.
Centre for Health Science, University of the Highlands and Islands, Old Perth Road, Inverness, IV2 3JH, UK.
Heath Park Campus, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, CF14 4XN, UK.


The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is a common domestic pest, which produces allergens that have been associated with broncho-pulmonary disease. Various protozoan species have been identified in the intestine of this cockroach and it has been hypothesised that these protozoa, or their proteases, may contribute to the burden of cockroach-associated allergens and adjuvants present in domestic dust. The aim of this study was therefore to determine the prevalence of protozoan species in the intestine of Blattella germanica. German cockroaches were anesthetised and dissected and gut contents are used to produce wet slides for microscopy. Both, Giemsa and Papanicolaou stains were used to confirm correct identification of Lophomonas blattarum. Representatives of four genera of protozoa were identified in 110 cockroaches: Nyctoterus sp. was observed in 91.8% of cases, Gregarina sp. in 64.5%, Amoeba sp. in 25.4% and Lophomonas blattarum in 13.6%. Nyctoterus and Gregarina were statistically significantly more likely to be found in diseased cockroaches compared to Amoeba or Lophomonas. The prevalence of Lophomonas blattarum was similar to that in published studies of a different species of cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Further work is needed to assess the interplay between protozoa, cockroaches and broncho-pulmonary diseases.


Blattella germanica; Cockroach; Lophomonas blattarum; Protozoa

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