Using samples collected on the island of Corsica, a comparative study was done of the morphometry of Fasciola hepatica eggs shed by cattle and by naturally and experimentally infected murid rodents (wild Mus musculus and Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus Wistar laboratory strain). Eggs shed by murids are smaller in size than those shed by naturally infected cattle. A second study analyzed the number of F. hepatica eggs shed in murid feces at different time intervals, i.e., months, days, and 6-hr periods, by the Kato-Katz technique. Both experimentally and naturally infected black rats (R. rattus) were used, and Wistar rats were experimentally infected and included for comparison. The present studies prove that black rats R. rattus are able to shed eggs independently from the liver fluke isolate and that egg shedding occurs throughout the life of this host species, uninterrupted during all the months analyzed in a 2-yr period. Moreover, the results suggest that this shedding is continuous, with eggs appearing in the feces daily. The results on egg shedding by wild black rats R. rattus reach their maximum shedding in spring and autumn and a maximum during twilight hr. These chronobiological patterns appear to favor parasite transmission, both seasonally and daily.
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