Molecular tools for detection of gastro-intestinal parasites and anthelmintic resistance in sheep

Last changed: 09 May 2022

A working strategy for parasite control is important to have to conduct a sustainable grazing-based lamb breeding with good animal welfare. Access to effective deworming agents is one of the cornerstones of successful parasite control. Development of resistance of the parasites to these drugs threatens this recurrence.

The aim of the project was to develop molecular tools for parasite diagnosis as well as sampling methods and genetic markers for the detection of drug resistance and in particular towards the most pathogenetic parasite of sheep, Haemonchus contortus. Through the project, we now have access to various molecular methods both to detect the most important parasites and the presence of benzimadazole-resistant H. contortus in flocks of sheep. In contrast, the allele frequencies of the genetic markers developed to detect resistance to ivermectin or levamisole were not correlated with a reduced treatment effect. In summary, occurrence of Haemonchus contortus and the presence of resistance to benzimidazoles can now be monitored with higher precision than before.

Project-time: 2016-2021

The project was carried out in collaboration between BVF Gård & Djurhälsa.

Group members

Johan Höglund, professor, BVF
Paulius Baltrusis, doktorand, BVF
Nizar Enwejis, forskare, BVF
Peter Halvarsson, forskare, BVF
Katarina Gustafsson, Gård & Djurhälsan

Recent publications from the project:

Baltrušis, P., Charvet, C.L., Halvarsson, P., Mikko, S., Höglund, J., 2021. Using droplet digital PCR for the detection of hco-acr-8b levamisole resistance marker in H. contortus. Int. J. Parasitol. Drugs Drug Resist. 15, 168–176.

Baltrušis, P., Doyle, S.R., Halvarsson, P., Höglund, J., 2022. Genome-wide analysis of the response to ivermectin treatment by a Swedish field population of Haemonchus contortus. Int. J. Parasitol. Drugs Drug Resist. 18, 12–19.

Baltrušis, P., Halvarsson, P., Höglund, J., 2020a. Utilization of droplet digital PCR to survey resistance associated polymorphisms in the β tubulin gene of Haemonchus contortus in sheep flocks in Sweden. Vet. Parasitol. 288, 109278.

Baltrušis, P., Komáromyová, M., Várady, M., von Samson-Himmelstjerna, G., Höglund, J., 2020b. Assessment of the F200Y mutation frequency in the β tubulin gene of Haemonchus contortus following the exposure to a discriminating concentration of thiabendazole in the egg hatch test. Exp. Parasitol. 217, 107957.

Beleckė, A., Kupčinskas, T., Stadalienė, I., Höglund, J., Thamsborg, S.M., Stuen, S., Petkevičius, S., 2021. Anthelmintic resistance in small ruminants in the Nordic-Baltic region. Acta Vet. Scand. 63, 18.

Halvarsson, P., Gustafsson, K., Höglund, J., 2022. Farmers’ perception on the control of gastrointestinal parasites in organic and conventional sheep production in Sweden. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Reports 30, 100713.

Halvarsson, P., Höglund, J., 2021. Sheep nemabiome diversity and its response to anthelmintic treatment in Swedish sheep herds. Parasit. Vectors 14, 114.

Höglund, J., Enweji, N., Gustafsson, K., 2020. First case of monepantel resistant nematodes of sheep in Sweden. Vet. Parasitol. Reg. Stud. Reports 22, 100479.

Höglund, J., Gustafsson, K., Osterman-Lind, E., 2021b. Anthelmintikaresistens och parasiter i refugia. Svensk veterinärtidning 33, 33–35.

Reslova, N., Skorpikova, L., Kyrianova, I.A., Vadlejch, J., Höglund, J., Skuce, P., Kasny, M., 2021. The identification and semi-quantitative assessment of gastrointestinal nematodes in faecal samples using multiplex real-time PCR assays. Parasit. Vectors 14, 1–12.

Rose Vineer, H., Morgan, E.R., Hertzberg, H., Bartley, D.J., Bosco, A., Charlier, J., Chartier, C., Claerebout, E., de Waal, T., Hendrickx, G., Hinney, B., Höglund, J., Ježek, J., Kašný, M., Keane, O.M., Martínez-Valladares, M., Mateus, T.L., McIntyre, J., Mickiewicz, M., Munoz, A.M., Phythian, C.J., Ploeger, H.W., Rataj, A.V., Skuce, P.J., Simin, S., Sotiraki, S., Spinu, M., Stuen, S., Thamsborg, S.M., Vadlejch, J., Varady, M., von Samson-Himmelstjerna, G., Rinaldi, L., 2020. Increasing importance of anthelmintic resistance in European livestock: creation and meta-analysis of an open database. Parasite 27, 69.