Wild fallow deer (Dama dama) as definitive hosts of Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke) in alpine New South Wales

David Jenkins, Ashleigh Baker, Megan Porter, Shokoofeh Shamsi, Di Barton

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7 Citations (Scopus)


To determine the extent to which wild deer are contributing in the transmission of Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke) livers from deer shot by hunters, farmers undertaking population control on their farms and vertebrate pest controllers were collected and frozen. The livers were later thawed, sliced and examined for the presence of adult flukes or evidence of past infection. Livers from 19 deer were examined (18 fallow [Dama dama] and one sambar [Rusa unicolor]). Seventeen of the fallow deer were animals collected on farms near Jindabyne, New South Wales. The remaining fallow deer was collected in the Australian Capital Territory and one sambar deer was collected in north-eastern Victoria. Nine of the 17 deer (53%) from the Jindabyne area were either infected with Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke) or had thickened bile ducts indicating past infection. Infection levels in the infected animals varied widely from 3 liver fluke to over 50 per liver. No sign of infection was present in the deer from the Australian Capital Territory or Victoria. Fallow deer are wide-spread in the Jindabyne area and their population is increasing. It is likely their contribution to the maintenance and distribution of F. hepatica to livestock in the Jindabyne area, and in other livestock rearing areas of south-eastern Australia, is important and increasing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-549
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number11
Early online date02 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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