The population distribution and zoonotic potential of gastrointestinal helminths in a naturally infected population of wild rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus) in Jamaica are described. One hundred and thirty (29.7%) of 437 rats captured in the study were infected: 104 (35%) of 297 R. rattus compared with 26 (18.6%) of 140 R. norvegicus. Nine species of gastrointestinal helminths were recovered: Raillietina sp. (0.2%), Trichuris sp. (0.2%), Rictularia sp. (0.7%), Syphacia obvelata (1.1%), Strongyloides ratti (1.4%), Hymenolepis diminuta (3.8%), Protospirura muricola (4.3%), Moniliformis moniliformis (11.2%), and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (14.2%). In a logistic model, the single risk factor identified for both M. moniliformis and P. muricola was R. rattus, compared with R. norvegicus (OR = 8.369 and 9.714, respectively). In comparison, the risk factor predicted for infection with N. brasiliensis was the northeastern section of Jamaica (OR = 11.000) compared with western Jamaica. Rictularia sp. represents a new geographic distribution record for the Caribbean region. Hymenolepis diminuta, M. moniliformis, Raillietina sp., and Rictularia sp. are potentially zoonotic, but only human infection with H. diminuta has been previously reported in the Caribbean.
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