A study on prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites of laboratory animals was conducted from November 2009 to March 2010 at the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI), Addis Ababa. For this study, faecal samples were collected from a total of 210 laboratory animals which include 140 mice (Swiss albino), 56 rats (Wistar) and 14 guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). The collected faecal samples were examined by simple faecal flotation techniques for isolation of parasitic eggs and/or oocysts. Out of 210 faecal samples examined, 79 (37.62%) were infected with gastrointestinal parasites. There was significant difference (P<0.05) in prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in rats, mice and guinea pigs with prevalence of 41.07, 30 and 100%, respectively. Nematodes, cestodes and Eimeria caviae have been detected. Among nematode parasites, the prevalence of Aspiculuris tetraptera and Syphacia obvelata were found with prevalence of 21.43 and 1.43%, respectively. The highest prevalence of nematodes was found in mice (28.57%) followed by rats (7.14%). Hymenolepis nana andHymenolepis diminuta were cestodes detected with the highest prevalence in rats (33.93%) followed by mice (1.43%). In mice, the highest prevalence of helminths was at 10 weeks of age (21.43%) while the lowest was in 4 weeks of age (2.14%). There was significant difference (P<0.05) in prevalence of helminths among the different age groups. E. caviae were detected only from guinea pigs at 16 weeks of age.
Key words: Gastrointestinal parasites, laboratory animals, prevalence.
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