Screening for infection of Trichinella in red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Denmark

Heidi L. Enemark, H. Bjørn, S.A. Henriksen, B. Nielsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    A total of 6141 foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were examined for infection with Trichinella. The foxes were killed in Denmark during the hunting season 1995-1996 and 1997-1998; 3133 and 3008, respectively, Foxes included in the investigation came from throughout the country with the exception of the island of Bornholm. The right foreleg from each fox was submitted for investigation. The legs were stored at -20 degrees C for 3-10 months prior to examination. Following thawing, muscle tissue (10 g) from each leg was examined by trichinoscopy and by a pepsin-HCl digestion technique. In 1995-1996, three foxes were found positive corresponding to a prevalence of 0.001. Each of the infected foxes harboured an extremely low infection, i.e, about one larva per 10 g muscle tissue. It was not possible to obtain sufficient larval material for species identification, All three foxes were shot in the vicinity of a small village in the north-western part of Denmark. In 1997-1998 no Trichinella cases were found. The results, compared with previous studies, indicate that the prevalence of infection of Trichinella sp. among wild living foxes in Denmark is very low. This is further supported by the fact, that no infection of Trichinella sp. has been found in slaughtered pigs in Denmark for more than 65 years, which suggests that the infection pressure is very low, Considering the facts above we conclude that the risk of Trichinella infections is negligible in intensive indoor pig production units in Denmark whereas high local prevalence of Trichinella infections in the wildlife might constitute a serious risk for the expanding outdoor pig production.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalVeterinary Parasitology
    Issue number3-4
    Pages (from-to)229-237
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • fox
    • Trichinella sp.
    • Denmark


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