a1 Department of Animal Pathology, Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, via Celoria, 10, 20133 Milan, Italy
a2 Department of Veterinary Prevention, Animal Health Service (ASL), via O. Rossi, 9, 21100 Varese, Italy
Thirty-one faecal samples were collected from red deer in the northern area of Varese, in the Italian region of Lombardy, between August and October 2008. The animals had either been hunted or accidently killed. Examination for internal parasites showed a prevalence of 45.2% for Elaphostrongylus cervi larvae and species identification was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Ninety-seven faecal samples were also collected from two goat flocks grazing in the same area between December 2007 and May 2008. These showed a prevalence of 74.7% for lungworms. Furthermore, the central nervous systems from five goats and one sheep from this area with a history of neurologically related lameness were examined. Histopathology confirmed E. cervi cerebro- spinal nematodiasis in five cases out of six. This study demonstrates E. cervi transmission from wild to domestic ruminants when the animals graze in the same area, and the possible occurrence of clinical disease in infected goats and sheep associated with high prevalence in deer.
(Accepted August 29 2010)
(Online publication October 06 2010)