Oxyurid nematodes of pet rodents in Slovakia - a neglected zoonotic threat

Abstract The role of rodents as reservoirs of helminths of public health importance is not well known. The zoonotic potential of Syphacia spp. has been confirmed; therefore, the study aimed to estimate the occurrence of oxyurid nematodes in small rodents from pet shops and breeding clubs in Slovakia. Fecal samples of 586 pet rodents kept in 133 cages were collected between 2016 and 2018 and examined by Faust´s flotation method. Four species of oxyurid nematodes, Syphacia muris, S. obvelata, Aspiculuris tetraptera and Paraspidodera uncinata were detected. A. tetraptera was found in the faecal samples of all rodent species included in this survey. The number of positive boxes varied from 5.4% in hamsters to 70.0% with mice. The prevalence of Syphacia muris was highest in Mongolian gerbils where up to 75.0% boxes were positive; S. obvelata was found in 26.7% of boxes with mice, 25.0% of boxes with Mongolian gerbils and 3.2% of boxes with rats. The high prevalence of Syphacia spp. in all animal species points out the infection risk for humans. Animals offered for sale are often in close contact with human beings; therefore they should be regularly tested for parasites and then effectively dewormed.