Wild Boars Carry Infectious and Parasitic Diseases in the North-east Patagonia

Universidad Nacional de Río Negro - Departamento de Ciencias Exactas, Naturales y de Ingeniería

May 02, 2016 | 5 ′ 18 ′′


Wild Boars Carry Infectious and Parasitic Diseases in the North-east Patagonia


Researchers and professors of the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro carry out a study on potential infectious and parasitic diseases among which we can find trichinellosis, leptospirosis and brucellosis, which might be suffered and transmitted by some wild animals. The research focuses on a species which is important for the region in terms of culture and hunting: the wild boar.

In the frame of a research project of the BS in Environmental Sciences, co-directed by Dr. Diego Birochio and whose members are also Dr. Sergio Abate and Bs Marina Winter, preliminary results have been reached, which coincide with many publications around the world, according to which wild boars should be studied as reservoirs of diverse contagious diseases. The researchers, who worked with many official organisms (SENASA, INTA) could observe that boars are hosts of bacterial species responsible for diseases like brucellosis and leptospirosis.

Wild boars –whose scientific name is Sus scrofa– is a suidae originary from Europe and introduced in the province of La Pampa for hunting purposes at the beginning of the XX century; in 1924 and 1926, some individuals were taken to the province of Río Negro. Since then, with the escape of some animals, their presence has been registered in a great part of the national territory. The effect of boars on the original ecosystem are negative; they are considered responsible for the transmission of diseases which can affect men and other animals, even important livestock, generating serious damages to public health and the productive sector. As the specialists remarked to Argentina Investiga, among the diseases related to S. scrofa we can find trichinellosis, la leptospirosis, brucellosis, tuberculosis, foot-and-mouth disease and Aujeszky’s disease.

Brucellosis is the most worldwide distributed bacterial zoonosis, caused by different species of the genus Brucella, which in spite of affecting men generates abortions, early birth and many reproductive alterations in domestic and wild pigs. It is currently included in a national control program to eradicate it, which is in charge of the SENASA, so it is useful to know the epidemiological role of wild boars in the maintenance and transmission of diseases to other animals that are productively important like domestic pigs. In this sense, considering the frame of the Plan Estratégico Alimentario Nacional, to know the prevalence of brucellosis in wild boars becomes highly important.

Leptospirosis is a disease produced by a bacterium that can enter the body mainly due to inadequate sanitary management of production and wild animals or pets’ metabolic waste; and/or contamination of effluents with animals’ waste: urine and feces. Consequently, the starting point for the dissemination of leptospirosis is the presence of a host. Among mammals, rodents, pigs and dogs are their most important reservoirs. Consequently, having valid information represents a substantial contribution for understanding the persistence of the disease in the wild environment. In the same sense, it is relevant to be able to isolate and analyze the genotypic characteristics of the isolation to build a distribution map of the genetic variability of Leptospira spp. through the examination of the genetic diversity and the relations of the outbreaks in the Argentinean south.

Finally, it is worth mentioning trichinellosis, which is a zoonotic disease caused by nematoda parasites of the genus Trichinella which circulate among domestic pigs and wild animals; human beings contract the disease after consuming raw meat or cold meat. In Argentina, trichinellosis represents an important problem for public health, with infections reported in 18 provinces. In the province of Rio Negro there are zones where the prevalence of trichinellosis is so high that it has generated definite measures to preserve public health. With the use of the artificial digestion technique (1%pesin/ 1%HCl), which takes between 10 and 100 grams of muscle tissue to analyze, there have not been reported positive cases in this research. However, a prevalence of 8.33% has been obtained in analyzed serums (serology is not considered a confirmatory method).

Due to the fact that it is a species valued as a major hunting prey in the north Patagonia and although there is no quantitative data, wild boar meat is consumed frequently, which can contribute significantly to the economy of scarce resources’ families. This is another reason why it is important to contribute to the knowledge of the circulation of these and other infectious and parasitic diseases in the population of wild boars of the north-west Patagonia.

Paulina Andrés
Rectorado UNRN
Área de Comunicación


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