Ascaridia galli: a report of erratic migration
ABSTRACT This paper describes a case of an unusual recovery of adult Ascaridia galli in hen’s egg. Several data are available on this occurrence but it appears to be the first case described in Italy. The worm was identified as an adult female, 6.8 cm in length, with three trilobed lips, cervical narrow alae, oesophagus club-shaped without posterior bulb, vulva near the middle of body, with gravid uteri containing a large number of eggs. The presence of Ascaridia galli in hen’s eggs cannot be considered as hazard for public health but may be cause of a potential consumer complaint. Moreover it is a sign of presence of ascaridiosis, parasitosis that still produces economic losses in modern poultry production system.
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ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional prevalence study of gastrointestinal helminths in Danish poultry production systems was conducted on 268 adult chickens selected at random from 16 farms in Denmark from October 1994 to October 1995. The trachea and the gastrointestinal tract of each bird was examined for the presence of helminths. In the free-range/organic systems the following helminths were found: Ascaridia galli (63.8%), Heterakis gallinarum (72.5%), Capillaria obsignata (53.6%), Capillaria anatis (31.9%) and Capillaria caudinflata (1.5%). In the deep-litter systems: A. galli (41.9%), H. gallinarum (19.4%) and C. obsignata (51.6%). In the battery cages: A. galli (5%) and Raillietina cesticillus or Choanotaenia infundibulum (3.3%). Exact identification of the cestodes was not possible because of missing scolexices. In the broiler/parent system: C. obsignata (1.6%), and finally for the backyard system: A. galli (37.5%) H. gallinarum (68.8%), C. obsignata (50.0%), C. anatis (56.3%) and C. caudinflata (6.3%). The results confirm the higher risk of helminth infections in free-range and backyard systems but prevalence may also be high in deep litter systems.British Poultry Science 10/1999; 40(4):439-43. · 0.78 Impact Factor
310ITAL.J.ANIM.SCI. VOL. 4, 310-312, 2005
Daniela Piergili Fioretti, Fabrizia Veronesi, Manuela Diaferia,
Maria Pia Franciosini, Patrizia Casagrande Proietti
Dipartimento di Scienze Biopatologiche Veterinarie. Università di Perugia, Italy
a report of erratic migration
Corresponding author: Prof. Daniela Piergili Fioretti. Dipartimento di Scienze Biopatologiche Veterinarie,
Sezione di Parassitologia. Università di Perugia. Via S. Costanzo 4, 06126 Perugia, Italy – Tel. +39 075 5857740
Fax: +39 075 5857743 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper describes a case of an unusual recovery of adult Ascaridia galli in hen’s egg. Several data are available on this
occurrence but it appears to be the first case described in Italy. The worm was identified as an adult female, 6.8 cm in length,
with three trilobed lips, cervical narrow alae, oesophagus club-shaped without posterior bulb, vulva near the middle of body,
with gravid uteri containing a large number of eggs. The presence of Ascaridia galli in hen’s eggs cannot be considered as
hazard for public health but may be cause of a potential consumer complaint. Moreover it is a sign of presence of ascarid-
iosis, parasitosis that still produces economic losses in modern poultry production system.
Key Words: Hen, Ascaridia galli, Erratic migration, Egg.
ASCARIDIA GALLI: UN CASO DI MIGRAZIONE ERRATICA
Nel seguente lavoro viene descritto l’inconsueto ritrovamento nell’albume di un uovo commerciale di gallina di un esem-
plare adulto di Ascaridia galli. Dalla bibliografia a nostra disposizione, relativa all’argomento, questa risulta essere la
prima segnalazione effettuata nel nostro Paese.
Il nematode isolato è stato identificato come femmina adulta di Ascaridia galli, di 6,8 cm di lunghezza, morfologicamen-
te caratterizzato da bocca trilabiata, esofago claviforme con assenza di bulbo posteriore, strette ali cefaliche, vulva situa-
ta nella parte mediana del corpo. L’esemplare inoltre era gravido con un utero contenente numerose e caratteristiche
uova. Il riscontro di Ascaridia galli nelle uova di gallina, pur non rappresentando un rischio per la salute pubblica, è tut-
tavia fonte di estremo disagio per i consumatori. Recentemente l’affermarsi di sistemi di allevamento alternativi ha di
nuovo reso attuale la presenza di questa parassitosi nel settore avicolo.
Parole chiave: Gallina ovaiola, Ascaridia galli, Migrazione erratica, Uovo.
Ascaridia galli, the largest and the most com-
mon helminth of the small intestine of chickens,
is a parasite with a direct life cycle and poultry is
infected by ingestion of embryonated eggs con-
taining the second larval stage (L2).The infection
is a direct consequence of faecal contamination of
environment.The parasite completes its life cycle
exclusively in the intestinal tract with a larval
migratory phase into the enteric wall.
One of the most striking effects of infection is
the occasional finding of this parasite in the hen’s
egg. Although several observations of this phe-
nomenon have been made in literature
(Akinyemi et al., 1980; Omran, 1982; Manna,
1992), as far as we know, it is the first case
reported in Italy.
ASCARIDIA GALLI: A REPORT
ITAL.J.ANIM.SCI. VOL. 4, 310-312, 2005 311
Material and methods
In this study a fresh chicken egg, with a white
filiform structure referable to a round worm in
the albumen (Figure 1), bought by a private con-
sumer and coming from an Umbrian commercial
farming, was submitted to our attention.
The worm isolated, washed in distilled water,
kept in physiological solution for 2 hours at 40°C
to help the extension, fixed in 70% alcohol for 24
hours, clarified in lactophenol of Amman for 10
hours, mounted on a microscope slide, was
observed by light microscopy at 10x- 40x.
On the basis of morphometric characteristics
(6,8 cm in lenght, three trilobed lips, cervical nar-
row alae, oesophagus club-shaped without poste-
rior bulb (Figure 2), vulva near the middle of
body, gravid uteri containing a large number of
eggs, the worm was identified as an adult female
of Ascaridia galli (Yamaguti, 1961).
Results and discussion
The floatation method with a sugar NaNO3
solution allowed to evidence the presence in the
albumen of typical Ascaridia galli eggs, oval in
shape, with smooth shell and size of 75 x 30 _m.
It is possible that this occurrence is quite fre-
quent but the common use of hard-boiled eggs
could make unnoticeable the presence of these
worms in the boiled egg albumen.
A primary localization in the genital appara-
tus of Ascaridia galli larva L2with subsequent
maturation to aduld worm has to be excluded
because the egg production is more quick than
the time required for maturity of larva. In addi-
tion the adult worm in egg was gravid and
Ascaridia galli is not an hermaphrodite nema-
tode. Presumably the worms migrate up the
oviduct via the intestinal wall and peritoneal
cavity or via the cloaca with subsequent inclu-
sion in the egg.
Although the presence of Ascaridia galli in
hen’s eggs cannot be considered as hazard for
public health, it may be cause of potential con-
This finding is noteworthy since it indirectly
points out the problems related to ascaridiosis,
that at present is playing an important role in
the alternative rearing systems, such as the
It is known that the most of the conventional
farming could be shortly converted on the floor
system on the basis of 74/99 CEE regulation.
Recent epidemiological studies carried out on
different poultry breeding systems showed a
Ascaridia galli prevalence of 63.9% in organic
chickens and a prevalence of 41.9% in chickens
reared in covered strawyard. The prevalence
reported in breeders and in caged hens was
respectively 37.5% and 5% (Permin et al., 1999).
On the basis of these epidemiological data
and of our report further investigations are sug-
gested to obtain more information on the occur-
rence of Ascaridiosis in Umbria (Central Italy) in
relation to diffusion of alternative housing sys-
tems in hens.
Figure 1. An adult of Ascaridia galli in
albumen of hen’s egg.
Figure 2. Oesophagus club-shaped with-
out posterior bulb.
PIERGILI FIORETTI et al.
312ITAL.J.ANIM.SCI. VOL. 4, 310-312, 2005
AKINYEMI, J.O., OGUNJI, F.O., DIPEOLU, O.O., 1980. A
case of adult Ascaridia galli in hen’s egg. Int. J.
MANNA, B., 1992. A report of Ascaridia galli within the
albumen of hen’s eggs. Ind. J. Anim. Health. 31
OMRAN LAILA, A.M., 1982. Ascaridia galli (Shrank,
1788): an erratic parasite in a fowl’s egg albumin.
J. Egypt Soc. Parasitol. 12 (1):167-168.
PERMIN, A., BISGAARD, M., FRANDSEN, F., PEARMAN, M.,
KOLD, J., NANSEN, P., 1999. Prevalence of gastroin-
tesrinal helminths in different poultry production
system. Brit. Poultry Sci. 40:439-443.
YAMAGUTI, S., 1961. Systema Helminthum. 1sted.
Interscience, Publishers Inc., New York, NY, USA.
The Editor-in-Chief and the Guest Editors are indebted with
the following reviewers for their assistance in refereeing papers and case reports submit-
ted to the Scientific Committee of the Congress.
Camarda, A.; Catelli, E.; Fioretti, A.; Gallazzi, D.; Gavazzi, L.;
Grilli, G.; Lavazza, A.; Moreno Martin, A.; Ortali, G.; Pascucci, S.;
Piccirillo, A.; Stonfer, M.; Terregino, C.; Tosi, G.