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Identification of rumen fluke species in British livestock and potential implications for diagnosis

D. K. Gordon, L. C. P. Roberts, N. Lean, R. N. Zadoks, N. D. Sargison, P. J. Skuce

The liver fluke Fasciola hepatica affects cattle, sheep and goats in Great Britain, and the incidence of the parasite has increased over recent years. Reports of paramphistome (rumen fluke) infection in cattle and sheep have also increased over this period, often occurring as a coinfection with F hepatica. As the eggs of F hepatica and rumen fluke are morphologically similar, the standard faecal egg count (FEC) test for the detection of liver fluke lacks specificity in cases of coinfection, and may lead to the false diagnosis of liver fluke and treatment failure. This study aimed to establish which species of rumen fluke is most common in British livestock, and also to assess whether the coproantigen ELISA (cELISA), an alternative to the FEC test, is useful in determining coinfection of liver and rumen fluke.

Genomic DNA was extracted from four rumen fluke samples from cattle and sheep grazed in Scotland. DNA samples were amplified using PCR and compared to known sequences of rumen fluke species. All rumen fluke specimens were identified as Calicophoron daubneyi …

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