Seroprevalence of Dictyocaulus viviparus in first grazing season calves in Sweden
A serological survey was carried out to determine the prevalence and geographical distribution of Dictyocaulus viviparus in calves after their first grazing season in Sweden. A total of 754 animals from 76 randomly selected herds in seven geographical regions were examined between September 24 and December 19, 2001. To get an indication about the geographical distribution of the infection 41 herds with beef-suckler calves were investigated. On each farm, blood was collected from 8 to 10 animals after an average of 26 ± 24 days post-housing to determine specific IgG1 levels against a possible lungworm sperm antigen that is highly specific against patent infections of D. viviparus. We also investigated the seroprevalence of lungworm infection in relation to cattle management. In one region additional samples were analysed from 35 herds either with: (a) beef-suckling calves that were dewormed at housing, (b) untreated organically raised dairy calves, and finally from conventionally raised dairy calves either, (c) with or, (d) without a prophylactic anthelmintic treatment programme against gastrointestinal parasites on pasture. A questionnaire was used to obtain information about herd size and management, including measures to control nematode parasites on the farm. A total of 86 (11.8%) out of 754 animals had antibodies against D. viviparus, and at least one infected individual was detected in 30 (39.5%) of the 76 herds examined. Lungworm infected animals were found throughout the country and there was no significant differences between regions, although in southern and southwestern Sweden 70.0% of the herds were infected. Furthermore, there were no major differences in the seroprevalence in relation to management. Between 40.0 and 44.4% of the herds were infected irrespective of management, with the exception of calves from organic herds where no seropositive samples were found (0%). This result is in contrast to previous findings of lungworms in Sweden, and indicates that the parasite status on organic farms is diverse.