Skip to main content Accessibility help

Epidemiological investigation of a severe rumen fluke outbreak on an Irish dairy farm

  • James O'Shaughnessy (a1), Andres Garcia-Campos (a2), Conor G. McAloon (a2), Seamus Fagan (a3), Theo de Waal (a2), Maire McElroy (a1), Micheal Casey (a1), Barbara Good (a4), Grace Mulcahy (a2), John Fagan (a3), Denise Murphy (a3) and Annetta Zintl (a2)...


Although the rumen fluke, Calicophoron daubneyi is now very common and widespread throughout Western Europe, reports of clinical cases are still rare. This study explores the epidemiological background to a severe rumen fluke outbreak in 6-month-old heifers on a dairy farm in Ireland. Sequence analysis of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (Cox1) gene of the rumen fluke metacercariae on pasture failed to identify predominant, possibly pathogenic subtypes. However, estimates of metacercarial load indicated that the animals were exposed to a daily dose of about 5334 C. daubneyi metacercariae for a period of 3 weeks resulting in the build-up of very large numbers of immature worms in the small intestine. It is hypothesized that specific environmental conditions may favour this parasite over its competitor, the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, possibly by allowing it to emerge earlier. The possibility that C. daubneyi may be better adapted to the Irish climate than F. hepatica together with the fact that selective treatment against F. hepatica effectively frees the niche for C. daubneyi, may result in the gradual replacement of F. hepatica by C. daubneyi.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Annetta Zintl, E-mail:


Hide All

Joint first authors



Hide All
Abrous, M, Rondelaud, D and Dreyfuss, G (1999) Paramphistomum daubneyi and Fasciola hepatica: influence of temperature changes on the shedding of cercariae from dually infected Lymnaea truncatula. Parasitology Research 85, 765769.
Anon (2016) Northern Ireland disease surveillance report, July to September 2016. Veterinary Record 179, 482485.
Bargues, MD, Vigo, M, Horak, P, Dvorak, J, Patzner, RA, Pointier, JP, Jackiewicz, M, Meier-Brook, C and Mas-Coma, S (2001) European Lymnaeidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda), intermediate hosts of trematodiases, based on nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS-2 sequences. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 1, 85107.
Carmona, C, Dowd, AJ, Smith, AM and Dalton, JP (1993) Cathepsin L proteinase secreted by Fasciola hepatica in vitro prevents antibody-mediated eosinophil attachment to newly excysted juveniles. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 62, 917.
Dawes, B and Hughes, D (1970) Fascioliasis: the invasive stages in mammals. Advances in Parasitology 8, 259274.
Deplazes, P, Eckert, J, Mathis, A, Samson-Himmelstjerna, GV and Zahner, H (2016) Parasitology in Veterinary Medicine, 1st edn. The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Dinnik, J (1962) Paramphistomum daubneyi sp. nov. from cattle and its snail host in the Kenya Highlands. Parasitology 52, 143151.
Dreyfuss, G, Abrous, A, Vignoles, P and Rondelaud, D (2004) Fasciola hepatica and Paramphistomum daubneyi: vertical distribution of metacercariae on plants under natural conditions. Parasitology Research 94, 7073.
Dreyfuss, G, Vignoles, P, Rondelaud, D and Cabaret, J (2015) The Mud Snail (Galba truncatula) Ecology, Parasitism and Control. Saarbruecken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing, pp. 97123.
Fuertes, M, Pérez, V, Benavides, J, González-Lanza, MC, Mezo, M, González-Warleta, M, Giráldez, FJ, Fernández, M, Manga-González, MY and Ferreras, MC (2015) Pathological changes in cattle naturally infected by Calicophoron daubneyi adult flukes. Veterinary Parasitology 209, 188196.
González-Warleta, M, Lladosa, S, Castro-Hermida, JA, Martínez-Ibeas, AM, Conesa, D, Muñoz, F, López-Quílez, A, Manga-González, Y and Mezo, M (2013) Bovine paramphistomosis in Galicia (Spain): prevalence, intensity, aetiology and geospatial distribution of the infection. Veterinary Parasitology 191, 252263.
Gordon, DK, Roberts, LCP, Lean, N, Zadoks, RN, Sargison, ND and Skuce, PJ (2013) Identification of the rumen fluke, Calicophoron daubneyi, in GB livestock: possible implications for liver fluke diagnosis. Veterinary Parasitology 195, 6571.
Horak, IG (1971) Paramphistomiasis of domestic ruminants. Advances in Parasitolgoy 9, 3372.
Iglesias-Piñeiro, J, González-Warleta, M, Castro-Hermida, JA, Córdoba, M, González-lanza, C, Manga-González, Y and Mezo, M (2016) Transmission of Calicophoron daubneyi and Fasciola hepatica in Galicia (Spain): temporal follow-up in the intermediate and definitive hosts. Parasites & Vectors 9, 610.
Jones, RA, Williams, HW, Dalesman, S and Brophy, PM (2015) Confirmation of Galba truncatula as an intermediate host snail for Calicophoron daubneyi in Great Britain, with evidence of alternative snail species hosting Fasciola hepatica. Parasites & Vectors 8, 656.
Jones, RA, Brophy, PM, Mitchell, ES and Williams, HWYN (2017a) Rumen fluke (Calicophoron daubneyi) on Welsh farms: prevalence, risk factors and observations on co-infection with Fasciola hepatica. Parasitology 144, 237247.
Jones, RA, Dalesman, S, Ayodeji, S, Thomas, RK and Brophy, PM (2017b) The prevalence and development of digenean parasites within their intermediate snail host, Galba truncatula, in a geographic area where the presence of Calicophoron daubneyi has recently been confirmed. Veterinary Parasitology 240, 6874.
Kumar, S, Stecher, G and Tamura, K (2016) MEGA7: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 7.0 for bigger datasets. Molecular Biology and Evolution 33, 18701874.
Macan, T (1960) A Key to the British Fresh and Brackish Water Gastropods: With Notes on Their Ecology. Iver, Buckinghamshire, UK: Freshwater Biological Association, Scientific Publication, 13.
Mage, C, Bourgne, H, Toullieu, J-M, Rondelaud, D and Dreyfuss, G (2002) Fasciola hepatica and Paramphistomum daubneyi: changes in prevalences of natural infections in cattle and in Lymnaea truncatula from central France over the past 12 years. Veterinary Research 33, 439447.
Malrait, K, Verschave, S, Skuce, P, Van Loo, H, Vercruysse, J and Charlier, J (2015) Novel insights into the pathogenic importance, diagnosis and treatment of the rumen fluke (Calicophoron daubneyi) in cattle. Veterinary Parasitology 207, 134139.
Martínez-Ibeas, AM, González-Warleta, M, Martínez-Valladares, M, Castro-Hermida, JA, González-Lanza, C and Mi, B (2013) Rumen fluke in Irish sheep: prevalence, risk factors and molecular identification of two paramphistome species. BMC Veterinary Research 12, 143.
Martinez-Ibeas, AM, Munita, MP, Lawlor, K, Sekiya, M, Mulcahy, G and Sayers, R (2016) Development and validation of a mtDNA multiplex PCR for identification and discrimination of Calicophoron daubneyi and Fasciola hepatica in the Galba truncatula snail. Veterinary Parasitology 195, 5764.
Mason, C, Stevenson, H, Cox, A and Dick, I (2012) Sheep health: disease associated with immature paramphistome infection in sheep. Veterinary Record 170, 343344.
Millar, M, Colloff, A and Scholes, S (2012) Bovine health: disease associated with immature paramphistome infection. Veterinary Record 171, 509510.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) (1986). Manual of Veterinary Parasitological Laboratory Techniques. Reference book 418. London, UK: Her Majesty's Stationary Office.
Murphy, TM, Power, EP, Sanchez-Miguel, C, Casey, MJ, Toolan, DP and Fagan, JG (2008) Paramphistomosis in Irish cattle. Veterinary Record 162, 831.
National Research Council (NRC) (2001). Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, 7th edn. Washington: NAS.
Rondelaud, D, Vignoles, P and Dreyfuss, G (2007) Parasite development and visceral pathology in Galba truncatula co-infected with Fasciola hepatica and Paramphistomum daubneyi. Parasitology 81, 317322.
Rondelaud, D, Vignoles, P and Dreyfuss, G (2016) Larval trematode infections in Galba truncatula (Gastropoda, Lymnaeidae) from the Brenne Regional Natural Park, central France. Journal of Helminthology 90, 256261.
SAC (2016) Immature rumen fluke cause deaths of ewes. Veterinary Record 179, 538543.
Taylor, E (1939) Technique for the estimation of pasture infestation by strongyloid larvae. Parasitology 31, 473478.
Toolan, DP, Mitchell, G, Searle, K, Sheehan, M, Skuce, PJ and Zadoks, RN (2015) Bovine and ovine rumen fluke in Ireland – prevalence, risk factors and species identity based on passive veterinary surveillance and abattoir findings. Veterinary Parasitology 212, 168174.
Toole, AO, Browne, JA, Hogan, S, Bassière, T, Dewaal, T, Mulcahy, G and Zintl, A (2014) Identity of rumen fluke in deer. Parasitology Research 113, 40974103.
Zintl, A, Garcia-Campos, A, Trudgett, A, Chryssafidis, AL, Talavera-Arce, S, Fu, Y, Egan, S, Lawlor, A, Negredo, C, Brennan, G, Hanna, RE, De Waal, T and Mulcahy, G (2014) Bovine paramphistomes in Ireland. Veterinary Parasitology 204, 199208.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed