The aetiology, prevalence and morbidity of outbreaks of photosensitisation in livestock: A review

Yuchi Chen, Jane C. Quinn, Leslie A. Weston, Panayiotis Loukopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Photosensitisation is a clinical condition occurring in both humans and animals that causes significant injury to affected individuals. In livestock, outbreaks of photosensitisation caused by ingestion of toxic plants are relatively common and can be associated with significant economic loss.
Objectives: The agents that are most commonly implicated in outbreaks of photosensitisation have not been formally investigated on a global scale. To address this question, a systematic review of the literature was undertaken to determine the most common causative agents implicated in outbreaks of photosensitisation in livestock in Australia and globally, as well as the prevalence and morbidity of such outbreaks.
Methods: A systematic database search was conducted to identify peer-reviewed case reports of photosensitisation in livestock published worldwide between 1900 and April 2018. Only case reports with a full abstract in English were included. Non peer-reviewed reports from Australia were also investigated. Case reports were then sorted by plant and animal species, type of photosensitisation by diagnosis, location, morbidity and mortality rate and tabulated for further analysis.
Results: One hundred and sixty-six reports qualified for inclusion in this study. Outbreaks were reported in 20 countries. Australia (20), Brazil (20) and the United States (11) showed the highest number of peer-reviewed photosensitisation case reports from this analysis. Hepatogenous (Type III) photosensitisation was the most frequently reported diagnosis (68.5%) and resulted in higher morbidity. Panicum spp., Brachiaria spp. and Tribulus terrestris were identified as the most common causes of hepatogenous photosensitisation globally.
Conclusions: Hepatogenous photosensitisation in livestock represents a significant risk to livestock production, particularly in Australia, Brazil, and the United States. Management of toxic pastures and common pasture weeds may reduce the economic impact of photosensitisation both at a national and global level.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211625
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'The aetiology, prevalence and morbidity of outbreaks of photosensitisation in livestock: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this