The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of sarcosporidiosis in semi-intensively bred cattle in northwestern Italy. A diagnostic protocol was setup in which infected animals were identified by rapid histological examination of the esophagus, diaphragm, and heart and the detected Sarcocystis spp. were subsequently typed using conventional electron microscopy in combination with molecular techniques. Sarcosporidia cysts were detected in 78.1% of the animals and were seen most often in the esophagus. The cattle is intermediate host for Sarcocystis hominis (final host, humans and some primates), Sarcocystis cruzi (final host, domestic and wild canids), and Sarcocystis hirsuta (final host, wild and domestic cats).All these three species of Sarcocystis were identified, variously associated, with the following prevalence: S. cruzi (74.2%), S. hirsuta (1.8%), and S. hominis (42.7%). Furthermore, a new S. hominis-like (prevalence 18.5%), characterized by hook-like structures of villar protrusion and a different sequence of the 18S rRNA gene, was identified. The cattle sheds testing positive for zoonotic Sarcocystis were assessed for risk factors contributing to the maintenance of the parasite's life cycle. Significant associations emerged between consumption of raw meat by the farm owner, mountain pasturing, and absence of a sewerage system on the farm and cattle breed. Our study demonstrates that sarcosporidiosis may constitute a public health problem in Italy and indicates several issues to be addressed when planning surveillance and prevention actions. The applied diagnostic approach revealed that cattle can harbor a further type of Sarcocystis, of which life cycle and zoonotic potential should be investigated. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Detection of a morphogenetically novel Sarcocystis hominis-like in the context of a prevalence study in semi-intensively bred cattle in Italy / Domenis, Lorenzo; Peletto, Simone; Sacchi, Luciano; Clementi, Emanuela; Genchi, Marco; Felisari, Lucia; Felisari, Carla; Mo, Patrizia; Modesto, Paola; Zuccon, Fabio; Campanella, Chiara; Maurella, Cristiana; Guidetti, Cristina; Acutis, Pier Luigi. - In: PARASITOLOGY RESEARCH. - ISSN 0932-0113. - 109:6(2011), pp. 1677-1687. [10.1007/s00436-011-2441-1]
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