Sarcocystis spp

From Cow
Classic Sarcocystosis in cut beef

Sarcocystis spp are a zoonotic parasitic protozoa of cattle worldwide[1].

Cattle are commonly infected with Sarcocystis spp by ingesting feeds contaminated with infected carnivore feces.

Species identified in cattle include:

  • Sarcocystis cruzi
  • Sarcocystis hirsuta[2]
  • Sarcocystis hominis
  • Sarcocystis sinensis[3]

Clinical signs in affected cattle are usually absent. Cysts of Sarcocystis are common in the heart, esophageal, and skeletal muscle of cattle but rarely cause disease[4]. Heavy infestations, signs commensurate with sarcosporidiosis include fever, mild anemia, chronic myositis, abortion and muscle wasting.

Although of little clinical importance, condemnation of meat at abattoirs causes a significant economic impact on the cattle industry[5].


  1. Nourani H et al (2010) Prevalence of thin-walled Sarcocystis cruzi and thick-walled Sarcocystis hirsuta or Sarcocystis hominis from cattle in Iran. Trop Anim Health Prod 42(6):1225-1227
  2. Moré G et al (2011) Prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in Argentinean cattle. Vet Parasitol 177(1-2):162-165
  3. Chen X et al (2011) Sarcocystis sinensis is an ultrastructurally distinct parasite of water buffalo that can cause foodborne illness but cannot complete its life-cycle in human beings. Vet Parasitol 178(1-2):35-39
  4. Domenis L et al (2011) Detection of a morphogenetically novel Sarcocystis hominis-like in the context of a prevalence study in semi-intensively bred cattle in Italy. Parasitol Res 109(6):1677-1687
  5. Borji H, Parandeh S et al (2010) The abattoir condemnation of meat because of parasitic infection, and its economic importance: results of a retrospective study in north-eastern Iran. Ann Trop Med Parasitol 104(8):641-647