Αcute visceral cysticercosis caused by Taenia hydatigena in lambs: ultrasonographic findings

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Abstract

Background: Cysticercosis caused by cysticercus tenuicollis is a metacestode infection that affects several species of ungulates. It is caused by the larval stage of Taenia hydatigena, an intestinal tapeworm in dogs and wild canids. In the intermediate host, the mature cysticerci are usually found in the omentum, mesentery, and peritoneum, and less frequently in the pleura and pericardium. The migrating larvae can be found mostly in the liver parenchyma causing traumatic hepatitis in young animals. Most infections are chronic and asymptomatic, and are diagnosed at the abattoir. The acute form of infection is unusual in sheep and reports of death in lambs are rare. Methods: In March 2018, fifteen female lambs presented anorexia, weakness, lethargy, and death secondary to acute visceral cysticercosis. Twelve of them underwent hepatic ultrasonography. Examinations were performed on standing or left lateral recumbent animals. Results: Livers of affected animals presented rounded margins and a thickened, irregular and hyperechoic surface. Hepatic parenchyma appeared to be wholly or partially affected by lesions characterized by heterogeneous areas crossed by numerous, irregular, anechoic tracts ranging from 1 to 2 cm in length and 0.1 to 0.2 cm in width. Superficial and intraparenchymal cystic structures were also visualized. The presence of lesions was confirmed by anatomopathological examination, and T. hydatigena cysticerci was identified by morphological and molecular characterization of isolates. Conclusions: Our results highlighted that hepatic ultrasonography is effective for an intra-vitam diagnosis of acute cysticercosis in lambs.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].

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Corda, A., Dessì, G., Varcasia, A., Carta, S., Tamponi, C., Sedda, G., … Pinna Parpaglia, M. L. (2020). Αcute visceral cysticercosis caused by Taenia hydatigena in lambs: ultrasonographic findings. Parasites and Vectors, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04439-x

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