Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 43–46 | Cite as

Epidemiological survey on cystic echinococcosis in wild boar from Central Italy

  • Barbara PaolettiEmail author
  • Leonardo Della Salda
  • Angela Di Cesare
  • Raffaella Iorio
  • Alberto Vergara
  • Camilla Fava
  • Alberto Olivastri
  • Giorgia Dessì
  • Antonio Scala
  • Antonio Varcasia
Original Paper


Despite the wide distribution of wild boar populations in Italy and the increase of its diffusion in urbanized areas, only one case report has described the occurrence of Echinococcus granulosus s.l. in a wild boar from Marche (Central Italy). The present study investigated the presence of E. granulosus sensu lato with an epidemiological survey on wild boars from central Italy that had been killed during hunting season. Seven hundred sixty-five (765) adult wild boars were examined during the 2016–2017 hunting season. Of these animals, 1.0% (8/765) were positive to E. granulosus s.l. with a fertility of 0.3% (2/765), and 2.9% animals (22/765) were positive for the metacestode stage of Taenia hydatigena (Cysticercus tenuicollis), while 0.5% (4/765) showed mixed infection (E. granulosus s.l. + T. hydatigena). Sixteen hydatids were found, of which 12.5% were fertile, 37.5% were sterile, 31.3% were caseous, and 18.8% were calcified. Eight hydatids (two fertile and six sterile cysts) were molecularly characterized by analysis of the mitochondrial gene, cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), and the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (ND1). Hydatids found in wild boars were characterized as E. granulosus sensu stricto (G1 genotype). The present survey represents the first epidemiological study on cystic echinococcosis in wild boar in Italy which highlights the need for more extensive epidemiological investigations to determine the causal factors, economic impact, and public health importance of the disease in this livestock-wildlife setting.


Wild boar Hunting Cystic echinococcosis Italy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

Animals included in the present study were examined during post mortem mandatory inspection visit by official veterinaries physicians of the Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Umbria and the Marche Institute, and ASUR Sanitary Units (Ministry of Health, Italy) and according to a specific agreement between Parco Nazionale of the Sibillini Mountains for sanitary monitoring of hunted animals and prevention of zoonosis (Parco Nazionale Monti Sibillini: Prot. N° 3516 – Cl. 13.4.2; Sanitary Units of Ministry of Health N° 0074901 of 13/10/2017).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


  1. Boufana B, Scala A, Lahmar S, Pointing S, Craig PS, Dessì G, Zidda A, Pipia AP, Varcasia A (2015) A preliminary investigation into the genetic variation and population structure of Taenia hydatigena from Sardinia, Italy. Vet Parasitol 214:67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowles J, McManus DP (1993) NADH dehydrogenase 1 gene sequences compared for species and strains of the genus Echinococcus. Int J Parasitol 23:969–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowles J, Blair D, McManus DP (1992) Genetic variants within the genus Echinococcus identified by mitochondrial DNA sequencing. Mol Biochem Parasitol 54:165–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowles J, Blair D, McManus DP (1994) Molecular genetic characterization of the cervid strain (‘northern form’) of Echinococcus granulosus. Parasitology 109:215–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Daniel Mwambete K, Ponce-Gordo F, Cuesta-Bandera C (2004) Genetic identification and host range of the Spanish strains of Echinococcus granulosus. Acta Trop 91:87–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De-la-Muela N, Hernandez-de-Lujan S, Ferre I (2001) Helminths of wild boar in Spain. J Wild Dis 37:840–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Di Nicola U, Scacchia M, Marruchella G (2015) Pathological and serological findings in wild boars (Sus scrofa) from Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (Central Italy). Large Anim Rev 21:167–171Google Scholar
  8. Di Paolo A, Piseddu T, Sebastianelli M, Manuali E, Corneli S, Paniccià M, Papa P, Viali S, Mazzone P (2017) Detection of Echinococcus granulosus G3 in a wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Central Italy using PCR and sequencing. J Wildl Dis 53:399–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dore F, Varcasia A, Pipia AP, Sanna G, Pinna Parpaglia ML, Corda A, Romig T, Scala A (2014) Ultrasound as a monitoring tool for cystic echinococcosis in sheep. Vet Parasitol 203:59–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckert J, Deplazes P (2004) Biological, epidemiological, and clinical aspects of Echinococcosis, a zoonosis of increasing concern. Clin Microbiol Rev 17:107–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Filatov DA (2002) PROSEQ: a software for preparation and evolutionary analysis of DNA sequence data sets. Mol Ecol Notes 2:621–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Garippa G, Manfredi MT (2009) Cystic Echinococcosis in Europe and in Italy. Vet Res Commun 33:35–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gemmell MA, Lawson JR, Roberts M (1987) Population dynamics in echinococcosis and cysticercosis: evaluation of the biological parameters of Taenia hydatigena and T. ovis and comparison with those of Echinococcus granulosus. Parasitology 94(1):161–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kedra AH, Tkach VV, Swiderski ZP, Pawlowski Z, Emets A, Pawlowski J (2000) Molecular characterisation of Echinococcus granulosus from a wild boar. Acta Parasitol 45(2):121–122Google Scholar
  15. Kinkar L, Laurimaë T, Simsek S, Balkaya I, Casulli A, Manfredi MT, Ponce-Gordo F, Varcasia A, Lavikainen A, González LM, Rehbein S, Van Der Giessen J, Sprong H, Saarma U (2016) High-resolution phylogeography of zoonotic tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto genotype G1 with an emphasis on its distribution in Turkey, Italy and Spain. Parasitology 143(13):1790–1801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kinkar L, Laurimäe T, Balkaya I, Casulli A, Zait H, Irshadullah M, Sharbatkhori M, Mirhendi H, Rostami-Nejad M, Ponce-Gordo F, Rehbein S, Kia EB, Simsek S, Šnábel V, Umhang G, Varcasia A, Saarma U (2018) Genetic diversity and phylogeography of the elusive, but epidemiologically important Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto genotype G3. Parasitology:1–10 Article in PressGoogle Scholar
  17. Laurimäe T, Kinkar L, Moks E, Romig T, Omer RA, Casulli A, Umhang G, Bagrade G, Irshadullah M, Sharbatkhori M, Mirhendi H, Ponce-Gordo F, Soriano SV, Varcasia A, Rostami-Nejad M, Andresiuk V, Saarma U (2018) Molecular phylogeny based on six nuclear genes suggests that Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato genotypes G6/G7 and G8/G10 can be regarded as two distinct species. Parasitology, in press:1–9Google Scholar
  18. Lavikainen A, Lehtinen MJ, Meri T, Hirvelä-Koski V, Meri S (2003) Molecular genetic characterization of the Fennoscandian cervid strain, a new genotypic group (G10) of Echinococcus granulosus. Parasitology 127:207–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lemel J, Truvé J, Söderberg B (2003) Variation in ranging and activity behaviour of European wild boar Sus scrofa in Sweden. Wildlife Biol 9:29–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lymbery AJ (2017) Phylogenetic pattern, evolutionary processes and species delimitation in the genus Echinococcus. Adv Parasitol 95:111–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mansouri M, Sarkari B, Mowlavi GR (2016) Helminth parasites of wild boars, Sus scrofa, in Bushehr Province, Southwestern Iran. Iran J Parasitol 11:377–382Google Scholar
  22. Martín-Hernando MP, González LM, Ruiz-Fons F, Garate T, Gortazar C (2008) Massive presence of Echinococcus granulosus (Cestoda, Taeniidae) cysts in a wild boar (Sus scrofa) from Spain. Parasitol Res 103:705–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Onac D, Győrke A, Oltean M, Gavrea R, Cozma V (2013) First detection of Echinococcus granulosus G1 and G7 in wild boars (Sus scrofa) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Romania using PCR and PCR-RFLP techniques. Vet Parasitol 193:289–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Poglayen G, Varcasia A, Pipia AP, Tamponi C, Parigi M, Marchesi B, Morandi B, Benfenati V, Scala A (2017) Retrospective study on Cystic Echinococcosis in cattle of Italy. J Infect Dev Ctries 11:11719–11726. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sarkari B, Mansouri M, Khabisi SA, Mowlavi G (2015) Molecular characterization and seroprevalence of Echinococcus granulosus in wild boars (Sus scrofa) in South-Western Iran. Ann Parasitol 61:269–273Google Scholar
  26. Scala A, Garippa G, Varcasia A, Tranquillo VM, Genchi C (2006) Cystic Echinococcosis in slaughtered sheep in Sardinia (Italy). Vet Parasitol 135:33–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Scala A, Pipia AP, Dore F, Sanna G, Tamponi C, Marrosu R, Bandino E, Carmona C, Boufana B, Varcasia A (2015) Epidemiological updates and economic losses due to Taenia hydatigena in sheep from Sardinia, Italy. Parasitol Res 114:3137–3143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Scala A, Urrai G, Varcasia A, Nicolussi P, Mulas M, Goddi L, Pipia AP, Sanna G, Genchi M, Bandino E (2016) Acute visceral cysticercosis by Taenia hydatigena in lambs and treatment with praziquantel. J Helminthol 90:113–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scotti M, Burattini R, Dell’Orso M, Di Massimo S, Forconi P, Gazzola A, Giacchini P, Marini G, Marini S, Piccinetti F, Randi E, Riganelli N, Salvi P, Soriani G, Vedova A, Zabaglia C (2012) Indagine conoscitiva sulla presenza del lupo Canis lupus nella regione Marche. Hystrix It J Mamm 181 (In Italian)Google Scholar
  30. Senlik B, Cirak VY, Girisgin O, Akyol CV (2011) Helminth infections of wild boars (Sus scrofa) in the Bursa province of Turkey. J Helminthol 85:404–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson RC, McManus DP (2002) Towards a taxonomic revision of the genus Echinococcus. Trends Parasitol 18:452–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Torgerson PR, Williams DH, Abo-Shehada MN (1998) Modelling the prevalence of Echinococcus and Taenia species in small ruminants of different ages in northern Jordan. Vet Parasitol 79(1):35–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Toso S, Pedrotti L (2001) Linee guida per la gestione del cinghiale (Sus scrofa) nelle aree protette Quad. Cons.Natura, 2, Min. Ambiente – Ist. Naz. Fauna Selvatica (In Italian)Google Scholar
  34. Troncy PM (1989) Helminth parasites of livestock and poultry in tropical Africa. In: Manual of Tropical Veterinary Parasitology, Translated by M. Shah-Fischer and R. R. Say, C.A.B. International, Wallingford, UK 7–164Google Scholar
  35. Umhang G, Richomme C, Hormaz V, Boucher JM, Boué F (2014) Pigs and wild boar in Corsica harbor Echinococcus canadensis G6/7 at levels of concern for public health and local economy. Acta Trop 133:64–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Varcasia A, Garippa G, Scala A (2004) The diagnosis of Echinococcus granulosus in dogs. Parassitologia 46:409–412Google Scholar
  37. Varcasia A, Canu S, Lightowlers MW, Scala A, Garippa G (2006) Molecular characterization of Echinococcus granulosus strains in Sardinia. Parasitol Res 98:273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Varcasia A,. Tosciri G, Pedes T, Pipia AP, Marrosu R, Scala A, Garippa G (2007). Cystic Echinococcosis in pigs and wild boars of Sardinia (Italy), Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on the Mediterranean Pig - Capo d’Orlando (ME), Italy, ISSN 2035-4088Google Scholar
  39. Varcasia A, Tanda B, Giobbe M, Solinas C, Pipia AP, Malgor R, Carmona C, Garippa G, Scala A (2011) Cystic Echinococcosis in Sardinia: farmers’ knowledge and dog infection in sheep farms. Vet Parasitol 181:335–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yanagida T, Lavikainen A, Hoberg EP, Konyaev S, Ito A, Sato MO, Zaikov VA, Beckmen K, Nakao M (2017) Specific status of Echinococcus canadensis (Cestoda: Taeniidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences. Int J Parasitol 47:971–979CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Paoletti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Leonardo Della Salda
    • 1
  • Angela Di Cesare
    • 1
  • Raffaella Iorio
    • 1
  • Alberto Vergara
    • 1
  • Camilla Fava
    • 1
  • Alberto Olivastri
    • 3
  • Giorgia Dessì
    • 4
  • Antonio Scala
    • 4
  • Antonio Varcasia
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of TeramoTeramoItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineTeaching Veterinary HospitalTeramoItaly
  3. 3.A.S.U.R.Ascoli PicenoItaly
  4. 4.Laboratory of Parasitology, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Department of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

Personalised recommendations