- Autores: Amaro A, Coelho C, Gomes J, Inácio J, Lopes AP, Mesquita JR, Pires I, Vieira-Pinto M
- Ano de Publicação: 2015
- Journal: Veterinary Parasitology
- Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304401715003982?via%3Dihub%20
Sarcocystis species are worldwide spread cyst-forming protozoa that can infect wild boar but little is known about the prevalence of these parasites. In this study we assessed the prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. infections in wild boars from northeastern Portugal, for which novel PCR testing assays targeting Sarcocystis genus, S. miescheriana and S. suihominis were implemented, and risk factors potentially associated with these infections were evaluated. Samples from muscle tissue, namely diaphragm (n=102), oesophagus (n=96) and heart (n=101), were collected from a total of 103 wild boar hunted between October 2011 and February 2012. Diaphragm muscle was used for the PCR detection of Sarcocystis nucleic acids since a higher proportion of samples showed the presence of cysts during histological examination. PCR assay targeting Sarcocystis genus yielded a 73.8% infection rate, which indicate a high level of exposure to these protozoan parasites among wild boars. These samples showed to be positive with the S. miescheriana-specific PCR assay and no sample was positive with the S. suihominis-specific assay, suggesting that a single species infecting wild boar is circulating in Portugal. These results were confirmed by the partial sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene amplified from selected samples from different geographic regions. Adults, young adults and female wild boars were found to be more likely infected. Hunters have an important role in the life cycle of S. miescheriana since potentially infected viscera and carcasses can be left behind promoting the protozoan dissemination to the scavenging final hosts. If hunting dogs bite and ingest infected meat they can perpetuate the life cycle of Sarcocystis spp. spreading oocysts or sporocysts in the environment.