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Patterns Of Parasitic Infections In Faecal Samples From Stray Cat Populations In Qatar

M.A. Abu-Madi, D.A. Al-Ahbabi, M.M. Al-Mashhadani, R. Al-Ibrahim, P. Pal, J.W. Lewis

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AbstractThe parasite fauna of stray cat populations, comprising mainly helminth parasites, is described for the first time from the arid environment of the Qatar peninsula. During the winter and summer months of 2005, 824 faecal samples were examined from six sites in Qatar. Up to seven species of parasites were identified, six of which were nematodes –Strongyloides stercoralisas the most prevalent (18.4%), followed byAelurostrongylus abstrusus(7.5%),Toxocara cati(6.1%),Ancylostoma tubaeforme(5.9%) andPhysalopterasp. (4.8%) andToxascaris leonina(0.7%) – and one sporozoan species,Isospora felis(0.5%). Unidentified cestode eggs were also recovered from 10.7% of samples examined. The parasite species were found to be highly overdispersed in faecal samples from all sites, whereas the prevalence and intensity of infections were influenced by site and season. Infection levels tended to be higher during the winter season, especially in the case ofA. abstrususandA. tubaeforme, when conditions of temperature and humidity were more favourable for the development of egg and/or larval stages of parasites compared with the extremely hot and dry summer months. The results are discussed in relation to the distribution of the cat population in the vicinity of Doha and its outskirts and the potential threat of parasite transmission to human communities in Qatar.