Sarcocystis-infection of cattle in Hungary

Sándor Hornok, Anita Mester, Nóra Takács, Ferenc Baska, Gábor Majoros, Éva Fok, Imre Biksi, Zoltán Német, Ákos Hornyák, Szilárd Jánosi, Róbert Farkas

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Reports on Sarcocystis-infection of cattle are outdated or lacking in many European countries, including those in the Central-Eastern part of the continent. Therefore, to assess the prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. among bovids in Hungary, a countrywide survey was initiated. In addition, fulminant deaths of four cattle, that showed clinical signs and post mortem lesions resembling acute sarcocystiosis ("Dalmeny disease"), were investigated. Methods: During the countrywide survey individual heart and oesophagus samples were collected at slaughterhouses from 151 beef cattle and from 15 buffalo, kept in 31 places of Hungary. Analysis for Sarcocystis spp. was carried out with conventional PCRs for the 18S rDNA gene and gel electrophoresis, followed by sequencing of 36 strongly positive samples. Mortality cases were evaluated by histological, molecular, bacteriological and virological analyses of samples from various organs. Results: Among slaughtered cattle the rate of Sarcocystis-infection was 66%. S. cruzi was identified as the most prevalent species in aurochs-like breed, and the zoonotic S. hominis in Hungarian grey cattle. Concerning the sudden deaths of cattle, Sarcocystis-infection could not be demonstrated in organs showing haemorrhages, but S. cruzi cysts were present in the muscles. In one case "S. sinensis" was molecularly identified in the blood (indicating sarcocystaemia). Results of analyses for bacterial/viral pathogens were negative. Conclusions: S. cruzi appears to be the most prevalent Sarcocystis sp. in cattle in Hungary, followed by the zoonotic S. hominis. However, the rate of infection with both species was shown to differ between cattle breeds. The suspected role of Sarcocystis spp. as causative agents of the fatal cases could not be confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Buffalo
  • Cattle
  • Dalmeny disease
  • Sarcocystis
  • Zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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