Liver fluke in Irish sheep: prevalence and associations with management practices and co-infection with rumen fluke
AuthorMunita, Maria Pia
Martinez-Ibeas, Ana Maria
Munita-Corbalan, Luis Enrique
Sayers, Ríona G.
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CitationMunita, M.P., Rea, R., Martinez-Ibeas, A.M. et al. Liver fluke in Irish sheep: prevalence and associations with management practices and co-infection with rumen fluke. Parasites Vectors 12, 525 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3779-y
AbstractBackground: The present study aimed to identify the national prevalence of Fasciola hepatica in Irish sheep and to conduct a risk analysis assessment based on management and treatment practices in participating focks. Also, co-infection with rumen fuke was quantifed and its association with liver fuke and management practices was assessed. Methods: A total of 305 sheep focks were selected ensuring even national representation of the sheep population. Participating farms were asked to complete a survey questionnaire on farm management practices and submit faecal samples during the winter of 2014–2015. Pooled faecal samples were analysed for the presence of F. hepatica and coinfection with rumen fuke. Apparent and true prevalence were calculated, additionally, the rate of co-infection with rumen fuke was also obtained. Correlation and regression analyses were used for assessing associations between management practices, liver fuke infection and co-infection with rumen fuke. Results: The national true prevalence of F. hepatica was 50.4% (n=305). Regional prevalence varied from 41% in the east to 52% in the south. Co-infection with rumen fuke was observed in 40% of the studied population and corre‑ lated with increased F. hepatica egg counts (OR=2.9; P≤0.001). Predominant breeds were Sufolk, Texel and Horned Mountain breeds. Beef cattle were the most frequent type of other livestock present on farms and mixed species grazing was frequently reported (73%). More than half of the focks reported a mid-to-late lambing period (MarchApril). Use of mountain land for grazing was of 32%. Flukicides were most commonly used twice over the autumnwinter period. Regression analyses highlighted signifcant association of F. hepatica status, with the presence of other livestock on farm, frequency of fukicides used during the winter and clinical presentation of liver fuke. A signifcant increase in eggs per gram of faeces was observed in Charollais sheep in comparison with all other breeds. Co-infec‑ tion with F. hepatica and Calicophoron daubneyi was also signifcantly associated with the presence of other livestock on the farm, type of fukicide used and clinical fasciolosis. Conclusions: The present study provides up-to-date information on the prevalence of F. hepatica in Irish sheep and adds insight to the epidemiology of the disease. These fndings will be useful for designing new holistic control meas‑ ures for F. hepatica infection.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
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