Microscopic detection and molecular characterization of Sarcocystis miescheriana in wild boars (Sus scrofa): first report from Greece

Parasitol Res. 2024 Jun 8;123(6):234. doi: 10.1007/s00436-024-08254-6.


The genus Sarcocystis includes protozoan parasites with an indirect life cycle. Sarcocystis spp. can infect various animal species and humans, causing sarcocystosis, a parasitosis of economic importance and zoonotic concern. Wild boars can act as intermediate hosts for Sarcocystis miescheriana and the zoonotic Sarcocystis suihominis that infects humans by consumption of raw or undercooked infected swine meat. In the present study, the diaphragmatic muscle tissue of 123 wild boars hunted in Greece was examined to determine the frequency of Sarcocystis spp. The samples were examined by tissue compression and molecular techniques. Under light microscopy, 34 out of 123 (27.6%) wild boars tested positive for Sarcocystis spp., while a higher infection prevalence (75%) was revealed by multiplex PCR performed in 100 of the samples. The partial mtDNA cox1 gene (~ 1100 bp) of 20 samples tested positive for S. miescheriana by multiplex PCR was amplified and sequenced. Sarcocystis miescheriana was identified as the only species involved in these infections. This is the first study on the prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in wild animals in Greece. Further, large-scale surveys are needed to assess the prevalence and species of this parasite in Greece and to design efficient control and preventive measures in a One Health perspective.

Keywords: Sarcocystis miescheriana; Sarcocystis suihominis; Food safety; Food-borne parasites; Game meat; Multiplex-PCR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Diaphragm / parasitology
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Microscopy
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Prevalence
  • Sarcocystis* / classification
  • Sarcocystis* / genetics
  • Sarcocystis* / isolation & purification
  • Sarcocystosis* / epidemiology
  • Sarcocystosis* / parasitology
  • Sarcocystosis* / veterinary
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sus scrofa* / parasitology
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases* / parasitology


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Electron Transport Complex IV