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Temporal studies on Fasciola hepatica in snails in Ireland

V. Relf, B. Good, J. P. Hanrahan, E. McCarthy, A. B. Forbes, T. deWaal

THIS study investigated the effects of climate on the abundance of Galba truncatula, the intermediate snail host of Fasciola hepatica, and the effect of season, snail size and habitat on its infection with F hepatica.

The Teagasc hill sheep research farm in the west of Ireland was used for the study. Temperature and rainfall data were obtained from a local weather station. Four potential locations of snail habitats were identified in lowland pasture. The sites were searched for G truncatula every two weeks between August 2006 and March 2008. All snails found were submitted for examination; morphology, size and abundance were recorded. Genomic DNA was extracted from snail tissue and underwent PCR and sequencing to confirm identification of the species. The snails were then dissected and examined under a microscope for the presence of developmental stages of F hepatica. Samples underwent PCR for amplification and sequencing of F hepatica DNA.

G truncatula abundance was generally low during winter 2006/07, mid-spring and summer 2007 and late autumn and winter 2007/08. Two peaks in G truncatula abundance were identified: early …

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