ABSTRACT

Herbivores can be accidental hosts for the zoonotic nematode parasites Trichinella spp., which are endemic at high prevalence in wildlife in northeastern Europe. Using direct and indirect detection methods for Trichinella spp., we investigated samples from 463 wild moose (Alces alces) harvested by hunters in Estonia in 2015. A total of 460 moose were tested directly by artificial digestion of diaphragm muscle, 463 moose were tested indirectly by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and 34 moose also by western blot. Positive-control reference sera were from other host species. Nematode larvae were found in six muscle samples; five of which were pooled samples. None of the larvae were identified as Trichinella spp., based on their morphology and molecular analyses. Twelve moose (2.6%) were positive by ELISA, but none were positive by the western blot test. Trichinella spp. infection was not detected, but ELISA results may suggest Trichinella spp. exposure in a small proportion of moose in Estonia.

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