Prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in Argentinean cattle

Departamento de Epizootiología y Salud Pública, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 60 y 118, 1900 La Plata, Argentina.
Veterinary Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.55). 12/2010; 177(1-2):162-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.11.036
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sarcocystis cruzi, S. hirsuta and S. hominis are apicomplexan parasites that affect cattle worldwide with variable prevalence. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in Argentinean cattle comparing microscopic fresh examination and molecular methods. Blood, myocardium and loin samples were collected in five slaughterhouses from a total of 380 bovines. Origin of animals was representative of the major beef cattle production area of Argentina. Samples were analyzed by fresh microscopical examination, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), IFAT and PCR-RFLP. Thin walled sarcocysts corresponding with S. cruzi were found in 99.5% of heart samples. Sarcocysts were detected in 73.1% of loin samples; 71.5% had S. cruzi cysts and 23.1% had thick walled sarcocysts (S. hirsuta or S. hominis). TEM observation revealed the presence of characteristic S. hominis and S. hirsuta cyst walls in 7 and 1 loin samples respectively. Using IFAT, 379/380 animals had titers 25 or higher, showing a full agreement with fresh examination. Amplification products were detected in 35.5% (135/380) of loin samples; however Sarcocystis species could only be determined by RFLP in 29 samples. Agreement between fresh examination and PCR was low (Kappa value=0.262). This is the first report of S. hominis and S. hirsuta in Argentina. Further studies are needed to improve the sensitivity of molecular methods for species identification, especially for differentiation of S. cruzi and S. hirsuta from the zoonotic species S. hominis. The results of the present study and others focusing on sensitivity and specificity of Sarcocystis spp. diagnostic methods should contribute to improve food safety.

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