Sheep and Fasciola hepatica in Europe: the GLOWORM experience

Submitted: 19 March 2015
Accepted: 19 March 2015
Published: 19 March 2015
Abstract Views: 3358
PDF: 1634
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Fasciola hepatica infection challenges health, welfare and productivity of small ruminants throughout the world. The distribution of F. hepatica in sheep in Europe is usually scattered and studies are generally concerned with a single area making it difficult to compare results from different environments, climates and management regimes. In order to elucidate the current scenario in terms of prevalence and intensity of F. hepatica infection in sheep farms across Europe, a standardized cross-sectional survey was conducted in three pilot areas in Ireland, Switzerland and Italy, all part of the EU funded GLOWORM project. Two consecutive field surveys (in 2012 and 2013) were conducted in the three countries in the same period (August-October) in 361 sheep farms in total. Harmonized procedures (from farm to laboratory) based on pooled samples and the highly sensitive and accurate, diagnostic FLOTAC technique were used. The georeferenced parasitological results were modelled (at the pilot area level) following a Bayesian geostatistical approach with correction for preferential sampling and accounting for climatic and environmental covariates. The observed F. hepatica prevalence rates did not differ between the two study years in any of the three pilot areas, but they did vary between the countries showing high values in Ireland (61.6%) compared to Italy (7.9%) and Switzerland (4.0%). Spatial patterns of F. hepatica distribution were detected by the Bayesian geostatistical approach in Ireland with a high risk of infection in the south-western part of the pilot area there. The latent factor analysis highlighted the importance of year-to-year variation of mean temperature, rainfall and seasonality within a country, while long-term trends of temperature and rainfall dominated between countries with respect to prevalence of infection.

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Rinaldi, L., Biggeri, A., Musella, V., de Waal, T., Hertzberg, H., Mavrot, F., Torgerson, P. R., Selemetas, N., Coll, T., Bosco, A., Grisotto, L., Cringoli, G., & Catelan, D. (2015). Sheep and Fasciola hepatica in Europe: the GLOWORM experience. Geospatial Health, 9(2), 309–317. https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2015.353

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