Detection of Trichinella spiralis in a horse during routine examination in Italy

E. Pozio, A. Tamburrini, L. Sacchi, M. A Gomez Morales, S. Corona, E. Goffredo, G. La Rosa

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Routine examination for Trichinella infection by artificial digestion of 5-g samples of muscle tissue revealed the presence of muscle larvae in one out of 28 horses imported from Romania to an abattoir in Italy. The parasite, identified as Trichinella spiralis by the polymerase chain reaction, showed a reproductive capacity index of 68 in Swiss mice. Light microscope examination of 200 nurse cell-larva complexes showed that 22% of them were calcified and that the capsules of the non-calcified nurse cells were 17.5-27.5 μm (s = 22.67 μm) thick and had very few cellular infiltrates. The serum samples from the parasitologically positive horse and from three other horses of the same stock, from which Trichinella larvae were not recovered by digestion, shelved a low level of positivity as determined by ELISA and Western blot analyses using a crude antigen, whereas negative results were observed in both tests when an excretory-secretory antigen was used. The results, together with data from the literature, suggest that the horse had acquired the infection 8-10 months previously and confirm earlier observations obtained from experimental infections, which showed that muscle worm burden and specific circulating antibodies were lost several months after infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613-1621
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Horse meat
  • Italy
  • Nurse cell-larva complex
  • Romania
  • Trichinella spiralis
  • Trichinellosis
  • Worm burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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