A Review of the Epidemiology of Gastrointestinal Nematode Infections in Sheep and Goats in Ghana

  •  Seth Blackie    


In this paper, the gastrointestinal nematode parasites infecting small ruminants (sheep and goats) in Ghana and the epidemiological factors influencing their prevalence are reviewed and discussed. Twelve nematode species belonging to six families have been reported to infect these livestock in the country with Haemonchus contortus being the most prevalent helminth parasite in both animals. Parasitic gastroenteritis is caused by mixed infection of several nematode species. Management /husbandry practices, climate and host influence are found to be the main factors that affect gastrointestinal nematode infections in sheep and goats. Seasonal changes in the level of infective strongylate nematode larvae on pasture in the different agro-ecological zones of Ghana are reviewed. The number of infective larvae on pasture is reported to be directly related to the pattern of rainfall. Consequently, rainfall could be relied on to predict the rate of transmission of infection in grazing animals. Finally, the relevance of epidemiological knowledge in the development of efficient measures for controlling gastrointestinal nematode infections in sheep and goats in Ghana is discussed.

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