Sarcocystis of humans

  • Ronald Fayer
Part of the World Class Parasites book series (WCPA, volume 9)


Within the phylum Apicomplexa, protozoan parasites of the genus Sarcocystis require two hosts in a prey-predator relationship to complete their life cycle. Asexual stages develop only in intermediate hosts when, after ingesting sporocysts in food or water contaminated with animal feces, they become infected with stages that develop in blood vessels and muscles. Sexual stages develop only in definitive hosts when, after eating sarcocysts in animal muscles (meat), they become infected with stages that develop in the gastrointestinal tract. Humans can serve as both intermediate and definitive hosts for different species of Sarcocystis. Detection methods, means of identification, prevalence of infection, transmission routes, clinical signs, diagnostics, and methods of treatment and prevention are described in this chapter.

Key words

Sarcocystis sarcocystosis sarcosporidiosis human food animals meat life cycle epidemiology detection treatment control 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arness, M.K., J.D. Brown, J.P. Dubey, R.C. Neafie, and D.E. Granstrom. 1999. An outbreak of acute eosinophilic myositis due to human Sarcocystis parasitism. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 61: 548–553.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Aryeetey, M.E., and G. Piekarski. 1976. Serologische Sarcocystis-studien an Menschen und Ratten. Zeitschrift fur Parasitenkunde 50: 109–124.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bunyaratvej, S., P. Bunyawongwiroj, and P. Nitiyanant. 1982. Human intestinal sarcosporidiosis: report of six cases. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 31: 36–41.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Clavel, A., O. Doiz, M. Varea, S. Morales, F.J. Castillo, M.C. Rubio, and R. Gomez-Lus. 2001. Molestias abdominales y heces blandas en consumidor habitual de carne de vacuno poco cocinada. Enfermedades Infecciosas Microbiologia Clinica 19: 29–30.Google Scholar
  5. Croft, J.C. 1994. Nonamebic protozoal enteridities. 1994. In Infectious Processes, 5 th edition.Google Scholar
  6. P.D. Hoeprich,, Jordan, M.C. and A.R. Ronald (eds.). Philadelphia, Lippincott 769–774.Google Scholar
  7. Dubey, J.P., C.A. Speer, and R. Fayer. 1989. Sarcocystis of Animals and Man. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 215 p.Google Scholar
  8. Fayer, R. 1970. Sarcocystis: development in cultured avian and mammalian cells. Science 168: 1104–1105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. —, 1972. Gametogony of Sarcocystis sp. in cell culture. Science 175: 65–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. —, R., A. O. Heydorn, A.J. Johnson, and R.G. Leek. 1979. Transmission of Sarcocystis suihominis from humans to swine to nonhuman primates (Pan troglodytes, Macaca mulatta, Macaca irus). Zeitschrift fur Parasitenkunde 59: 15–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. —, and A. J. Johnson. 1975. Effect of amprolium on acute sarcocystosis in experimentally infected calves. Journal of Parasitology 61: 932–936PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fischer, S. and K. Odening.1998. Characterization of bovine Sarcocystis species by analysis of their 18S ribosomal DNA sequences. Journal of Parasitology 84: 50–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heydorn, A. O. 1977. Sarkosporidien enfiziertes Fleisch als mogliche Krankheitsurache fur den Menschen. Archives fur Lebensmittelhygiene 28: 27–31.Google Scholar
  14. —, and M. Rommel. 1972. Beitrage zum Lebenszyklus der Sarkosporidien. II. Hund un Katze als Ubertrager der Sarkosporidien des Rindes. Berlin Muenchen Tieraerztliche Wochenschrift 85: 121–123.Google Scholar
  15. Johnson, A.J., R. Fayer, and P.K. Hildebrandt. 1974. The pathology of experimental sarcosporidiosis in the bovine. Laboratory Investigation 30: 377–378.Google Scholar
  16. —, P.K. Hildebrandt, and R. Fayer. 1975. Experimentally induced Sarcocystis infection in calves: Pathology. American Journal of Veterinary Research 3: 995–999.Google Scholar
  17. Lane, J.H., K.G. Mansfield, L.R. Jackso,, R.W. Diters, K.C. Lin, J.J. MacKey, and V.G. Sassevelle. 1998. Acute fulminant sarcocystosis in a captive-born rhesus macaque. Veterinary Pathology 35:499–505PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leek, R. G. and R. Fayer. 1980. Amprolium for prophylaxis of ovine Sarcocystis. Journal of Parasitology 66: 100–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. —, and —. 1983. Experimental Sarcocystis ovicanis infection in lambs: Salinomycin chemoprophylaxis and protective immunity. Journal of Parasitology 69: 271–276.Google Scholar
  20. —, —, and A. J. Johnson. 1977. Sheep experimentally infected with Sarcocystis from dogs. Disease in young lambs. Journal of Parasitology 63: 642–650.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McLeod, R., Hirabayashi, R.N., Rothman, W. and Remington, J.R. 1980. Necrotizing vasculitis and Sarcocystis: a cause and effect relationship? Southern Medical Journal 73: 1380–1383.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Mehrotra, R., D. Bisht, P.A. Singh, S.C. Gupta, and R.K. Gupta. 1996. Diagnosis of human sarcocystis infection from biopsies of the skeletal muscle. Pathology 28: 281–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mensa J. J.M. Gatell Jimenez de Anta and G. Prats. 1999. Guia e terapeutica antimicrobiana 9 th edition. Barcelona Masson S.A. 219Google Scholar
  24. Ono, M. and Ohsumi, T. 1999. Prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. cysts in Japanese and imported beef (Loin: Musculus longissimus). Parasitology International 48: 91–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pena, H. F., S. Ogassawara, and I.L. Sinhorini. 2001. Occurrence of Cattle Sarcocystis species in raw kibbe from Arabian food establishments in the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil, and experimental transmission to humans. Journal of Parasitology 87: 1459–1465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Proctor, S.J., D. Barnett, O. H. V. Stalheim, and R. Fayer. 1976. Pathology of Sarcocystis fusiformis in cattle. 19 th Annual Proceedings of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians 329–336.Google Scholar
  27. Rommel, M. and A. O. Heydorn. 1972. Beitrage zum Lebenszyklus der Sarkosporidien. III. Isospora hominis (Railiet und Lucet, 1891) Wenyon, 1923, eine Dauerform des Sarkosporidien des Rindes und des Schweins. Berlin Muenchen Tieraerztliche Wochenschrift 85: 143–145.Google Scholar
  28. —, —, and F. Gruber. 1972. Beitrage zum Lebenszyklus der Sarkosporidien. I. Die Sporozyste von S. tenella in den Fazes der Katze. Berlin Muenchen Tieraerztliche Wochenschrift 85: 101–105.Google Scholar
  29. Saito, M., Y. Shibata, A. Ohno, M. Kubo, K. Shimura, and H. Itagaki. 1998. Sarcocystis suihominis detected for the first time from pigs in Japanese Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 60: 307–309.Google Scholar
  30. —, —, M. Kubo, I. Sakakibara, A. Yamada, and H. Itagaki. 1999. First isolation of Sarcocystis hominis from cattle in Japan. Japanese Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 61: 307–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Seleque, A., P.D. Juyal, and B.B. Bhatia. 1990. Effect of temperature on the infectivity of Sarcocystis meischeriana cysts in pork. Veterinary Parasitology 36: 343–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Senaud, J. 1967. Contribution a l’etude des sarcosporidies et des toxoplasmes (Toxoplasmea). Protistologica 3: 169–232.Google Scholar
  33. Stalheim, O. H., S.J. Proctor, R. Fayer, and M. Lunde. 1976. Death and abortion in cows experimentally infected with Sarcocystis from dogs. Annual Proceedings of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians 317–327Google Scholar
  34. Straka, S., J. Skracikova, I. Konvit, M. Szilagyiova, and L. Michal. 1991. Sarcocystis species in Vietnamese workers. Cesk. Epidemiol. Mikrobiol. Immunol. 40: 204–208.Google Scholar
  35. Van Knapen, F., D. Bouwmann, and E. Greve. 1987. Study on the incidence of Sarcocystis spp. in Dutch cattle using various methods. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd. 112: 1095–1100.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Yang, Z.Q., Y.X. Zuo, B. Ding, X.W. Chen, J. Luo, and Y.P. Zhang. 2001. Identification of Sarcocystis hominis-like (Protozoa:Sarcocystidae) cyst in water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) based on 18s rRNA gene sequences. Journal of Parasitology 87: 934–937.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yu, S. 1991. Field survey of Sarcocystis infection in the Tibet autonomous region. Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao 13: 29–32. (In Chinese)PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Fayer
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Department of AgricultureAgricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations