Recent advances in the diagnosis, impact on production and prediction of Fasciola hepatica in cattle

J. Charlier*, J. Vercruysse, E. Morgan, J. Van Dijk, D. J.L. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Fasciola hepatica is a pathogenic trematode parasite of ruminants with a global distribution. Here, we briefly review the current epidemiology of bovine fasciolosis in Europe and discuss the progress made over the last decade in the diagnosis, impact on production and prediction of F. hepatica in cattle. Advances in diagnosis have led to significantly improved coprological and serological methods to detect presence of infection. Diagnostic test results have been correlated with intensity of infection and associated production losses, unravelling the impact on carcass weight and milk yield in modern cattle production systems. The economic impact of fasciolosis may, however, go beyond the direct impacts on production as evidence shows that F. hepatica can modulate the immune response to some co-infections. Control of bovine fasciolosis remains hampered by the limitations of the currently available flukicidal drugs: few drugs are available to treat dairy cows, many have low efficacies against juvenile stages of F. hepatica and there is evidence for the development of drug resistance. This makes research into the prediction of risk periods, and thus the optimum application of available drugs more pertinent. In this field, the recent research focus has been on understanding spatial risk and delivering region-specific spatial distribution maps. Further advances in epidemiological and economic research on bovine fasciolosis are expected to deliver farm-specific economic assessments of disease impact, to leverage non-chemotherapeutic management options and to enhance a more targeted use of anthelmintics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Early online date07 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthelmintics
  • Control
  • Fasciola hepatica
  • Global change
  • Immunity
  • Ruminant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases


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