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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Occurrence of gastrointestinal nematodes in lambs in Norway, as assessed by copromicroscopy and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction

Gravdal, Maiken; Woolsey, Ian David; Robertson, Lucy Jane; Hoglund, Johan; Chartier, Christophe; Stuen, Snorre


Background Gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) have a major impact on sheep production, health, and welfare worldwide. Norway is no exception, but there are only a few studies on the prevalence of GINs in Norwegian sheep. The aim of this study was to investigate the current occurrence of the most important nematodes in sheep flocks in Norway. Faecal samples were collected from flocks in 2021/2022, mainly from three geographical regions in Norway, i.e., northern, eastern, and western. In each of 134 flocks included, individual samples from 10 lambs (autumn) were pooled. Third stage larvae (L3) were cultivated and harvested (Baermann method) from the pooled samples. The DNA was then extracted and further analysed using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). This enables assessment of the proportions of the three most important nematode species/genera, i.e., H. contortus, T. circumcincta, and Trichostrongylus. The fractional abundance/relative proportion of each species/genus was assessed by performing duplex assays with universal strongyle and species/genus-specific primers and probe sets. In addition, the occurrence of Nematodirus eggs was assessed by standard faecal egg counts (i.e., McMaster method). Results Of the 134 flocks sampled, 24 were from the northern region, 31 from eastern, and 71 from western Norway. In addition, some flocks from central (n = 7), and southern (n = 1) Norway were included. Among the sampled flocks, T. circumcincta occurred most commonly (94%), followed by H. contortus (60%) and Trichostrongylus (55%), and Nematodirus (51%). In general, mixed infections were observed, with 38% and 18% of flocks infected with three or all four genera, respectively. Conclusions The results of this study indicate that GINs are widespread in Norway. Teladorsagia circumcincta seems to be present in most flocks based on this screening. Moreover, the results show that Nematodirus spp. infect lambs throughout the country, predominantly N. battus, and indicate that this nematode has become more abundant, which could lead to an increase in nematodirosis.


ddPCR; Europe; Haemonchus; Nematodirus; Norway; Sheep; Teladorsagia; Trichostrongylus

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2024, Volume: 66, number: 1, article number: 22
Publisher: BMC

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Medical Bioscience

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