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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 60, Issue 3 (Sep 2015)

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Liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) naturally infecting introduced European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) in northern Patagonia: phenotype, prevalence and potential risk

Pablo F. Cuervo
  • Corresponding author
  • Centro de Investigación en Parasitología Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan A. Maza. Av. Acceso Este, Lat. Sur 2245, Guaymallén, Mendoza, Argentina. Postal Code 5519
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/ Sophia Di Cataldo
  • Centro de Investigación en Parasitología Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan A. Maza. Av. Acceso Este, Lat. Sur 2245, Guaymallén, Mendoza, Argentina. Postal Code 5519
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/ M. Cecilia Fantozzi
  • Centro de Investigación en Parasitología Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan A. Maza. Av. Acceso Este, Lat. Sur 2245, Guaymallén, Mendoza, Argentina. Postal Code 5519
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/ Erika Deis
  • Centro de Investigación en Parasitología Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan A. Maza. Av. Acceso Este, Lat. Sur 2245, Guaymallén, Mendoza, Argentina. Postal Code 5519
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/ Gabriela Diaz Isenrath
  • Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. Campus Educativo Municipal Malargüe. Malargüe, Mendoza, Argentina
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/ Gabriela Viberti
  • Instituto Superior del Profesorado San Pedro Nolasco, Universidad del Aconcagua, Mendoza, Argentina
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/ Patricio Artigas
  • Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia. Av. Vicent Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
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/ Raquel Peixoto
  • Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia. Av. Vicent Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
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/ M. Adela Valero
  • Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia. Av. Vicent Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
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/ Roberto Mera y Sierra
  • Centro de Investigación en Parasitología Regional, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan A. Maza. Av. Acceso Este, Lat. Sur 2245, Guaymallén, Mendoza, Argentina. Postal Code 5519
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/ Santiago Mas-Coma
  • Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia. Av. Vicent Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
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Published Online: 2015-06-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2015-0076

Abstract

Fascioliasis has recently been included in the WHO list of Neglected Zoonotic Diseases. Besides being a major veterinary health problem, fascioliasis has large underdeveloping effects on the human communities affected. Though scarcely considered in fascioliasis epidemiology, it is well recognized that both native and introduced wildlife species may play a significant role as reservoirs of the disease. The objectives are to study the morphological characteristics of Fasciola hepatica adults and eggs in a population of Lepus europaeus, to assess liver fluke prevalence, and to analyze the potential reservoir role of the European brown hare in northern Patagonia, Argentina, where fascioliasis is endemic. Measures of F. hepatica found in L. europaeus from northern Patagonia demonstrate that the liver fluke is able to fully develop in wild hares and to shed normal eggs through their faeces. Egg shedding to the environment is close to the lower limit obtained for pigs, a domestic animal whose epidemiological importance in endemic areas has already been highlighted. The former, combined with the high prevalence found (14.28%), suggest an even more important role in the transmission cycle than previously considered. The results obtained do not only remark the extraordinary plasticity and adaptability of this trematode species to different host species, but also highlight the role of the European brown hare, and other NIS, as reservoirs capable for parasite spillback to domestic and native cycle, representing a potentially important, but hitherto neglected, cause of disease emergence.

Keywords : Fasciola hepatica; Lepus europaeus; introduced species; reservoir

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About the article

Received: 2014-12-13

Revised: 2015-02-24

Accepted: 2015-04-17

Published Online: 2015-06-16

Published in Print: 2015-09-01


Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2015-0076.

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