Lymphatic dwelling Filarioid nematode new parasite in Finnish cervids

5.5.2010

<p>Filarioidea parasites are a globally significant group of nematodes, which affect the health of animals and people. The studies conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Health Research Unit of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira show that Filarioidea parasites transmitted by insects and the changes associated to them have increased in Finnish cervids.</p>

Filarioid parasites are transmitted by blood-sucking arthropods, such as mosquitoes.
In December 2006, a filarioid nematode species identified as the Rumenfilaria andersoni was recovered in Finnish cervids. This large (female ca. 17 cm and male ca. 6 cm) inhabits the lymphatic system of cervids and produces microfilaria, which circulate in the blood stream of the host animal. Filarioid nematodes dwelling in the lymphatic system have not previously been found in European cervid animals.

The local pathological changes caused by the parasite round the lymphatic system are visible to the eye, but no precise data are yet available on the effects of the parasite on the health of cervids. The Fish and Wildlife Health Research Unit of Evira, located in Oulu, continues studies to establish the adverse effects caused by the parasite on cervids, as well as the epidemiology and the dynamics of the infection.

The project is part of research focused on the health and wellbeing of wild and farmed animals. The results of the parasite study have been published in the international scientific journal Parasite, 17:23-21  (pdf, 5870 kb) Laaksonen S, Saari S, Nikander S, Oksanen A, Bain, O. 2010. Lymphatic dwelling filarioid nematodes in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in Finland identified as Rumenfilaria andersoni Lankester and Snider, 1982 (Splendidofilariinae).

Read more about research project Nematodes transmitted by insects in Finnish cervids, "new parasite"

Find out about Evira's other current research projects

For more information on parasite research, please contact:
Researcher Sauli Laaksonen, Fish and Wildlife Health Research Unit, tel. +358 (0) 50 469 1471,
sauli.laaksonen at-merkki-kapea.gif evira.fi

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