The distribution of Fasciola hepatica in Queensland, Australia, and the potential impact of introduced snail intermediate hosts Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • A survey was conducted to establish the distribution of the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, in the state of Queensland, Australia, and to evaluate the impact of the introduced snail intermediate hosts, Pseudosuccinia columella and Austropeplea viridis. Serum samples from a total of 5103 homebred cattle in 142 beef herds distributed throughout the state and 523 pooled milk samples from dairy herds from the state's major dairying regions were tested for antibodies to F. hepatica by ELISA. Snails were collected on infected properties around the limits of the F. hepatica distribution. F. hepatica infection was detected in 44 dairy herds and two beef herds. The distribution of infected herds indicates that F. hepatica is established only in southeast Queensland. The distribution there was patchy but the parasite was more widespread than suggested by an earlier survey. The predominant intermediate host species found along the northern limit of the distribution was P. columella. We conclude that the introduction of P. columella and A. viridis has not yet had a major impact on the distribution of F. hepatica in Queensland. However, the presence of P. columella, which is much more adaptable to tropical habitats than the native intermediate host, Austropeplea tomentosa, at the northern limit of the F. hepatica distribution suggests that there is potential for the parasite to expand its range.

publication date

  • April 2006