Outbreak of Pterygodermatites nycticebi in Callitrichids of The Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Francis Vercammen1, DVM; Stas Lieve1; Luc Bauwens1; Tania Bus1; Redgi De Deken2, DVM, PhD; Jef Brandt1, DVM, PhD

1Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium; 2Institute of Tropical Medicine, Department of Animal Health, Antwerp, Belgium


In September 2010, an outbreak of Pterygodermatites nycticebi occurred in a group of 24 callitrichids: 4 Goeldi’s monkeys (Callimico goeldii), 1 white-fronted marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi), 1 common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), 4 pygmy marmosets (Callithrix pygmaea), 11 golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomela, GHLT), and 3 emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens). A 3-month-old Goeldi’s monkey was treated with injectable ivermectin (Ivomec®, Merial, Brussels, Belgium) at 0.17 mg/kg BW and survived, but an 8-month-old GHLT died suddenly with hemorrhagic enteritis caused by multiple worms. In the same week, two more 3-month-old GHLT died of trauma and pneumonia, both with few worms. Since then, feces from all callitrichids were examined monthly. Following a positive fecal exam, flubendazole (Flubenol® 5%, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Beerse, Belgium) at 5 mg/kg BW for 3 days was administered orally. Egg sizes of P. nycticebi (32–45 µm x 22–36 µm) and Physaloptera spp. (39–50 µm x 23–34 µm) overlap, which complicates differentiation.1-7 Since Physaloptera spp. were reported before in Antwerp Zoo, we assumed these eggs to be Physaloptera.3 However, adult nematodes showed the characteristic features of P. nycticebi: two subventral rows of combs, three buccal teeth, vulva near level of oesophago-intestinal junction.2 Eradication of P. nycticebi in enclosures with natural substrates is impossible because of its indirect life cycle with cockroaches as intermediate hosts.4,6,7 As yet, proper monitoring and treatment prevented disease and death.

Literature Cited

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3.  Kumar V, De Meurichy W, Delahaye AM, et al. Chemotherapy of helminthiasis among wild mammals v. gastric involvement of spider monkeys with Physaloptera sp. and chemotherapy of the infection. Acta Zool Pathol. 1981;76:191–199.

4.  Montali RJ, Gardiner H, Evans RE, et al. Pterygodermatites nycticebi (nematoda: spirurida) in golden lion tamarins. Lab Anim Sci. 1983;33(2):194–197.

5.  Monteiro RV, Janssen AM, Pinto RM. Coprological helminth screening in Brazilian free ranging golden lion tamarins, Leontopithecus rosalia (L., 1766) (primates, callitrichidae). Braz J Biol. 2003;63(4):727–729.

6.  Sato H, Matsuo K, Kamiya H, et al. Pterygodermatites nycticebi (nematoda: rictulariidae): accidental detection of encapsulated third-stage larvae in the tissue of a white-fronted marmoset. J Parasitol. 2003;89(6):1163–1166.

7.  Yue MY, Jordan HE. Studies of the life cycle of Pterygodermatites nycticebi (Monnig, 1920) Quentin. 1969. J Parasitol. 1986;72(5):789–790.


Speaker Information
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Francis Vercammen, DVM
Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp

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