Author: Prof Joop Boomker

Infections of the viscera

A number of wild carnivores have been reported to have adult Echinococcus spp. worms, including black-backed jackal, Cape hunting dogs, hyaenas and lions (Verster & Collins, 1966; Young, 1975), and the wildlife cycles of Echinococcus spp. exists in the larger game reserves. The larger prey species, which are the antelope, warthogs and bushpigs act as intermediate hosts for the tapeworm, but the prevalence is not high. Eight warthogs out of the 52 examined in the KNP had hydatid cysts, a prevalence of 15.4%, while in the near-by Hoedspruit nature reserve, where the larger carnivores do not occur, the prevalence was only 3.6% (Horak et al., 1988; Boomker et al., 1991). The reason for the low prevalence is the absence of the carnivore final hosts, thus breaking the life cycle. It is also possible that the warthogs that harboured the hydatid cysts were from the KNP or even neighbouring, large private reserves where the carnivores occur.