Echinococcus granulosus in wildlife in and around the Kosciuszko National Park, south-eastern Australia

D.J. Jenkins, B. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective; To investigate the distribution of Echinococcus granulosus in wild dogs and foxes and hydatidosis in wildlife coexisting with foxes and wild dogs in and around Kosciuszko National Park. Design: Prospective and ad hoc surveys by necropsy of definitive and intermediate hosts. Procedure: Wild dogs and foxes were trapped at one location in the Kosciuszko National Park and at 7 locations around the periphery of the Park. Feral pigs, macropodid marsupials, wombats, and feral goats were collected at some of the same locations. The animals were humanely killed, their small intestines removed in the field, the contents collected, preserved and examined microscopically. All internal organs of intermediate hosts were examined for hydatid cysts. Unidentified lesions were examined histologically. Results: Echinococcus granulosus tapeworms were found in wild dogs from all locations. Prevalence ranged up to 100% with worm burdens up to 300,000 worms. Prevalence in foxes ranged up to 50% in animals recovered from 5 locations. The worm burdens were usually less than 50 E granulosus per fox. Hydatid cysts were found in all macropodid species. Prevalence (69%) and cyst fertility (100%) were highest in swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolour). Prevalence of cysts in feral pigs ranged up to 49%. Less than 22% of the cysts were fertile. No cysts were found in any of the wombats or feral goats. Conclusion: Echinococcus granulosus occurs commonly in wildlife in and around the Kosciuszko National Park. High numbers of fertile cysts in swamp wallabies, a favoured dietary item for wild dogs in this region, suggests swamp wallabies are pivotal in maintaining transmission. Physical contact with wild dogs and foxes or accidental contact with wild canid faeces is a public health risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Volume81
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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