Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Seroprevalence ofFasciola hepatica infection in sheep in northwestern Spain

  • 44 Accesses

  • 19 Citations


To estimate the prevalence ofFasciola hepatica infection in sheep in the León province (northwestern Spain), we conducted a survey between October 1992 and May 1993. A total of 767 samples of feces and serum were collected from sheep over 1 year of age belonging to 152 flocks randomly selected from the 4 natural regions of León province. Samples were analyzed by a standard coprological sedimentation method and an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using excretory-secretory products fromF. hepatica as the antigen. The results showed the feasibility of using the indirect ELISA to facilitate the serodiagnosis of ovine fasciolosis in seroepidemiology studies (95% sensitivity and >99% specificity). No serological cross-reaction with infection by the trematodeDicrocoelium dendriticum was found. Furthermore, a statistically significant association was demonstrated between the mean flock prevalence results as determined by ELISA (77.6%) and by coprological examination (23.7%;P<0.001). Differences in the results obtained by the two diagnostic methods could have been due to fluctuations in the numbers of fluke eggs detected in feces and to the persistence of specific antibodies in serum after and efficacious fasciolicide treatment. The median number ofF. hepatica eggs detected per gram of feces was 10 (range, 5–450 eggs/g feces). The geographical distribution ofF. hepatica infection in León province was similar in all natural regions, probably due to the observation that meteorological conditions are not limiting for the maintenance of the parasite life cycle in any area of the province and to the abundance of irrigated areas together with the lack of planned control strategies. No significant association between trematode infection and sheep breed, flock size, or number of treatments was found, but the results showed a significant association between infection and untreated sheep (P<0.05).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anonymous (1973) Mapas provinciales de los suelos de León. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrarias (I.N.I.A.), Madrid

  2. Arriaga C, Paniagua R, Ruíz A, Bautista CR, Morilla A (1989) Comparison of dot enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Dot-ELISA), passive haemagglutination tes (PHT) and thin layer immunoassay (TIA) in the diagnosis of natural or experimentalFasciola hepatica infections in sheep. Vet Parasitol 30:197–203

  3. Bautista-Garfias CR, López-Arellano ME, Sánchez-Albarrán A (1989) A new method for serodiagnosis of sheep fascioliasis using helminth excretory-secretory products. Parasitol Res 76:135–137

  4. Boray JC (1969) Experimental fascioliasis in Australia. Adv Parasitol 7:95–210

  5. Boray JC (1985) Flukes of domestic animals. In: Gaafar SM, Howard WE, Marsh RE (eds) Parasites, pests and predators. (Word animal science series, vol B2) Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 179–185

  6. Catty D, Raykundalia C (1989) ELISA and related enzyme immunoassays. In: Catty D (ed) Antibodies, a practical approach, vol II. IRL Press Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 97–152

  7. Chauvin A, Boulard C (1992) Le diagnostic de la fasciolose des ruminants: Interprétation et utilisation pratique. Bull GTV 69–74

  8. Cordero M, et al. (eds) (1980) Indice-catálogo de zooparásitos ibéricos. Servicio de Publicaciones del Ministerio de Sanidad y Seguridad Social, Madrid

  9. Cornelissen JB, De-Leeuw WA, Van-Der-Heijden PJ (1992) Comparison of an indirect haemagglutination assay and an ELISA for diagnosingFasciola hepatica in experimentally and naturally infected sheep. Vet Q 14:152–156

  10. Del Río J (1967) Epizootiología de la dicroceliosis en la provincia de León. An Fac Vet Leon 13:211–253

  11. Díaz-González T, Penas-Merino A (1984) Bases para el mapa fitogeográfico de la provincia de León. Institución “Fray Bernardino de Sahagún”. Excma Diputación Provincial de León. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones científicas (CECEL), León

  12. Düwel D, Reisenleiter R (1984)Fasciola hepatica: coproscopic diagnosis compared with the worm burden in the sheep. Helminthologia 21:151–159

  13. Düwel D, Reisenleiter R (1990)Fasciola hepatica: Koproskopische Diagnostik im Vergleich zur Wurmbürde bei Schaf und Rind. Angew Parasitol 31:211–217

  14. Ferre I, Calvo E, Rojo-Vázquez FA (1991) Contribución a la confección de un mapa parasitológico del ganado ovino de la provincia de Segovia. Med Vet 8:556–559

  15. Ferre I, Ortega-Mora LM, Rojo-Vázquez FA (1994) Prevalence ofDicrocoelium dendriticum infection in sheep in León province (NW, Spain). Prev Vet Med (in press)

  16. Frankena K, Noordhvizen J, Willeberg P, Van Voorthuysen P, Goelema J (1990) EPISCOPE: computer program in veterinary epidemiology. Vet Rec 126:573–576

  17. García-Pérez AL, Juste-Jordán RA (1987) Helmintos parásitos de la oveja en el País Vasco. Rev Iber Parasitol [Suppl]: 105–113

  18. González-Lanza C, Manga-González Y, Del-Pozo-Carnero P, Hidalgo-Argüello R (1989) Dynamics of elimination of the eggs ofFasciola hepatica (Trematoda, Digenea) in the faeces of cattle in the Porma basin, Spain. Vet Parasitol 34:35–43

  19. Happich FA, Boray JC (1969) Quantitative diagnosis of chronic fasciolosis. 2. The estimation of daily total egg production ofFasciola hepatica and the number of adult flukes in sheep by faecal egg counts. Aust Vet J 45:329–331

  20. Manga-González Y, González-Lanza C, Del-Pozo P, Hidalgo R (1990) Kinetics ofFasciola hepatica egg passage in the faeces of sheep in the Porma basin, Spain. Acta Parasitol Pol 35:149–157

  21. Manga-González Y, González-Lanza C, Otero-Merino CB (1991) Natural infection ofLymnaea truncatula by the liver flukeFasciola hepatica in the Porma basin, León, NW Spain. J Helminthol 65:15–27

  22. Martin SW, Meek AH, Willeberg P (1987) Veterinary epidemiology. Principles and methods. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa

  23. Njau BC, Kasali OB, Scholtens RG, Akalework N (1989) The influence of watering practices on the transmission ofFasciola among sheep in the Ethiopian highlands. Vet Res Commun 13:67–74

  24. Peinado-Peláez M, Gómez-García V, Rodríguez-Osorio M (1989) Estudio epidemiológico de la fasciolosis en el ganado de la provincia de Granada. Resúmenes del VI Congreso Nacional y I Congreso Ibérico de Parasitología, Cáceres (Spain), 25–29 September

  25. Pfister K (1990) Serodiagnosis of fasciolosis in ruminants. Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epiz 9:511–518

  26. Reina D, Navarrete I, Hernández-Rodríguez S, Habela M (1987) Contribución al conocimiento de la parasitofauna de Cáceres. Primera relación. II. Helmintos. Rev Iber Parasitol [Suppl]: 85–90

  27. Santiago N, Hillyer GV (1988) Antibody profiles by EITB and ELISA of cattle and sheep infected withFasciola hepatica. J Parasitol 74:810–818

  28. SAS Institute Inc (1988) SAS/STAT user's guide, release 6.03. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina

  29. Simón F, Ramajo V (1983) Fasciolosis aguda en regadíos del tramo medio del Tornes. Anu Cent Edafol Biol Apl Salamanca IX:383–393

  30. Simón F, Ramajo V (1985) Principales problemas parasitarios ligados al pastoreo en especial en el ganado ovino en la provincia de Salamanca. Las parasitosis de los rumiantes en pastoreo en España. Inst Nac Invest Agr Comun INIA Ser Hig Sanidad Anim 11:37–59

  31. Smith PK, Krohn RI, Hermanson GT, Mallia AK, Gartner FH, Provenzano MD, Fujimoto EK, Goeke NM, Olson BJ, Klenk DC (1985) Measurement of protein using bicinchoninic acid. Anal Biochem 150:76–85

  32. Thienpont D, Rochette F, Vanparijs OFJ (1986) Diagnosing helminthiasis by coprological examination. Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium

  33. Uriarte J, Cabaret J, Tanco JA (1985) The distribution and abundance of parasitic infections in sheep grazing on irrigated or non-irrigated pastures in north-eastern Spain. Ann Res Vet 16:321–325

  34. Wamae LW, Ihiga MK (1991) Fasciolosis as a limiting factor in livestock productivity. Bull Anim Health Prod Afr 39:257–269

  35. Zimmerman GL, Jen LW, Cerro JE, Farnsworth KL, Wescott RB (1982) Diagnosis ofFasciola hepatica infections in sheep by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Am J Vet Res 43:2097–2100

  36. Zimmerman GL, Kerkvliet NI, Brauner JA, Cerro JE (1983) Modulation of host immune responses byFasciola hepatica: responses of peripheral lymphocytes to mitogens during liver fluke infections in sheep. J Parasitol 69:473–477

  37. Zimmerman GL, Nelson MJ, Clark CRB (1985) Diagnosis of ovine fascioliasis by a dot enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: a rapid microdiagnostic technique. Am J Vet Res 46:1513–1515

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ignacio Ferre.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ferre, I., Ortega-Mora, L.M. & Rojo-Vázquez, F.A. Seroprevalence ofFasciola hepatica infection in sheep in northwestern Spain. Parasitol Res 81, 137–142 (1995).

Download citation


  • Natural Region
  • Sedimentation Method
  • Irrigate Area
  • Plan Control
  • Indirect ELISA