Sarcocystis cruzi in Egyptian slaughtered cattle (Bos taurus): epidemiology, morphology and molecular description of the findings

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt

2 BSc in Veterinary Medicine, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt


Background: Sarcocystis spp. are one of the most common foodborne tissue cyst-forming coccidia with a public health and veterinary concern. Aims: The existing study aimed to rectify the epidemiological profile of Sarcocystis spp. infection in the cattle carcasses as well as to explore the structure and phylogenetic features of Sarcocystis spp. isolates. Methods: A total of 292 cattle carcasses were checked for the existence of sarcocysts using light microscopy (LM) via muscle squash (MS) and peptic digestion (PD) analysis from January 2020 to December 2020. Individual sarcocysts from different cattle tissues were selected for morphologic characterization and DNA extraction. Each sarcocyst’s 18S rDNA gene was amplified, sequenced, and analyzed. Results: Overall, 92.5% (270/292) of cattle tissue samples contained microscopic thin walled sarcocysts and were exclusively found in esophagus by light microscopy. A statistically insignificant relationship exists between the prevalence of infection and age groups, gender of cattle, and the seasonal dynamics (P>0.05). Sarcocysts ultrastructural features were completely discussed. Sequencing of 18S rDNA Sarcocystis gene confirmed S. cruzi (identity 99-100%), which was the first molecular identification of the current isolate in the study region. Conclusion: The current survey initially provides a brief account of knowledge about the epidemiology of Sarcocystis spp. infecting cattle and it is considered a starting point for the development of health awareness and efficient preventive schemes for this zoonotic protozoan parasite.


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