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Vet Parasitol. 2011 Apr 19;177(1-2):179-81. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.11.043. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Potential role of hares in the spread of liver fluke in the Netherlands.

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School of Biological Sciences, The Queen's University of Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Ireland.


Hares (Lepus europeanus) sharing pasture with cattle from six locations in the Netherlands were examined for the presence of liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) and shown to have prevalences of infection ranging from 0 to 41%. The mitochondrial haplotypes of liver flukes present in the hare populations were determined and compared with those found in cattle from a farm where triclabendazole resistance has been reported. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the flukes present in the hares belonged to the same clades as those present in the cattle. A consideration of the life cycle of the liver fluke and the seasonal breeding pattern and ecology of hares supports the suggestion that hares may act as a refugia for liver fluke and as a vector for the spread of drug-resistant genotypes.

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