Diphyllobothrium latum (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea) in perch (Perca fluviatilis) in three sub-alpine lakes: influence of biotic and abiotic factors on prevalence
AbstractIn recent years, human diphyllobothriosis has staged a comeback in Swiss, French and Italian sub-alpine regions. The main putative infective source of the causative agent (the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum) in these areas is perch (Perca fluviatilis). Therefore, the occurrence of D. latum in this fish species was investigated between 2005 and 2008 in the sub-alpine lakes Maggiore, Lugano and Geneva. Prevalence in fish of Lake Maggiore was 14% (n = 880). In Lake Geneva, 5.1% fillets (n = 532) were infected, whereas perch from Lake Lugano were free from the parasite. These results are discussed in relation to previous studies. Data on fish size and weight indicate that infection of perch by D. latum is independent of age and sex. Abiotic factors considered critical for D. latum life cycle (water temperature and oxygen concentration) characterize the three basins and were related to their infestation frequencies. The presence of this parasite was most likely favoured by warmer, well oxygenated waters. Previous studies indicate that the lake’s trophic state (i.e. content of total phosphorus) influenced the availability of the first intermediate hosts (copepods) of some pseudophyllideans. In our study, no correlation was observed between the amount of phosphorus and the number of copepods in populations of zooplankton. Nevertheless, the trophic states of the three lakes seemed to affect the degree of infection in fish. In conclusion, at least in sub-alpine lakes, abiotic factors such as water temperature, oxygenation and trophic state seem to have an influence on maintaining or preventing perch infection with D. latum.
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