Seasonal changes in density and tissue distribution of Onchocerca cervicalis microfilariae in ponies and related changes in Culicoides variipennis populations in Louisiana.

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Seasonal changes in density and spatial distribution of Onchocerca cervicalis microfilariae were studied in ventral-midline skin of 15 infected pony mares in southern Louisiana. Triple running mean analysis of data over a 13-mo period indicated that a distinct pattern exists in total microfilariae population density and in microfilariae occurrence in different levels of the dermis. Microfilariae density reaches peak levels in the spring followed by a 58% decrease in the summer, a 19% increase in the fall, and a decrease to the lowest numbers in the winter. Microfilariae were found in all levels of the skin during the spring, summer, and fall but were not found in the superficial layers of the dermis during the winter months. The population density of Culicoides variipennis, a demonstrated vector of O. cervicalis, appeared to have seasonal fluctuations similar to the changes in microfilarial density. Harmonic wave analysis of microfilariae density data in individual ponies showed that all individuals did not follow the population trend.

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The Journal of parasitology

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