Open Access Short Report

Investigating effects of parasite infection on body condition of the Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) in the Kafue basin

Musso Munyeme1, Hetron M Munang'andu2*, John B Muma1, Andrew M Nambota1, Demelash Biffa3 and Victor M Siamudaala4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Disease Control, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, P.O. Box 32379 Lusaka, Zambia

2 Norwegian School of Veterinary Sciences, Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, Section of Aquatic Medicine and Nutrition, Ullevalsveien 72, P.O. Box 8146 Dept, NO-0033 Oslo, Norway

3 Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, P.O. Box 8146, N-0033, Oslo, Norway

4 Zambia Wildlife Authority, Private bag 1, Chilanga, Zambia

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:346  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-346

Published: 23 December 2010



The Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche Kafuensis), a medium-sized semi-aquatic antelope, is endemic to the Kafue basin of Zambia. The population of the Kafue lechwe has significantly dropped in the last decades leading to its subsequent inclusion on the red list of endangered species. In order to save the remaining population from extinction, it has become increasingly important that the impact of parasite infection and infestation on the Kafue lechwe is investigated.


Endoparasites accounted for the majority of parasites observed from a study of 40 Kafue lechwe occurring in the the Kafue basin. Amphistoma spp. were present in all animals examined, while Fasciola gigantica had a prevalence rate of 0.525 (95% CI: 0.36 to 0.69) and species of Schistosoma 0.3 (95% CI: 0.15 to 0.45). Among the ectoparasites, Strobiloestrous vanzyli, had a prevalence rate of 0.15 (95% CI: 0.03 to 0.27), while Rhipicephalus appendiculatus had a prevalence of 0.075 (3/40). Our findings indicate that body condition was not influenced by the parasitic infestation in Kafue lechwe. There was no association between sex and parasitic burden (odds ratio = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.8-1.3). However, an association between age and parasitic burden was observed as older animals above 15 years were more likely to get parasite infections than those aged between 1-5 years (odds ratio = 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1-2.4).


Overall, there was no evidence that parasitic infections and infestations adversely affected the lechwe population on the Kafue basin. These findings indicate that ecto- and endo-parasite infestation might not play a significant role in reducing the Kafue lechwe population on the Kafue basin.