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The prevalence, organ distribution and fertility of cystic echinoccosis in feral pigs in tropical North Queensland, Australia

D. Lidetu, G.W. Hutchinson

Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research; Vol 74, No 1 (2007), 73-79. doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v74i1.140

Submitted: 13 September 2007
Published:  13 September 2007


An investigation was carried out to study the prevalence of Echinococcus granulosus hydatidosis in feral pigs (Sus domesticus) in the Charters Towers region of tropical North Queensland. Data were collected from a total of 238 carcasses, which were hunted and shot in the Burdekin River catchment area. Organs of the abdominal, thoracic, and pelvic cavities were examined for the presence of hydatid cysts. In the laboratory, cysts and hydatid cyst fluids were examined under a stereoscopic binoc ular microscope and a compound microscope.
An overall prevalence of E. granulosus hydatid cysts in feral pigs was found to be 31.1%. There was no significant difference in either sex or age between infected and non-infected feral pigs. The predilection sites of cysts were livers (23%) and lungs (62%), with more cysts in lungs (252) than livers (48). The ratio of livers to lungs infected with fertile cysts was 1:4 compared to 1:8 sterile cysts. The overall fertility of cysts was 70.1%. The percentage of fertile cysts in liver and lung was 79.2% and 68.7%, respectively. The diameter of fertile cysts ranged from 15 to over 60 mm. There was no significant difference in size between fertile and non-fertile cysts in lungs. The high prevalence rate and fertility of cysts in feral pigs confirm that feral pigs can take part in the sylvatic cycle of the parasite in the region. The public health significance of this observation is potentially very important.

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D. Lidetu,
G.W. Hutchinson,



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