UK Wildfowl Sarcocystis Survey
Welcome to the UK Wildfowl Sarcocystis Survey website.
Here you will find information about a possibly emerging parasite of wildfowl in the UK and a form for wildfowlers (or others) to submit any surveillance findings.
Sarcocystosis, or ‘rice breast’ disease of ducks, is caused by the parasite Sarcocystis spp and seems to be on the rise in the UK. The parasite has a relatively complex life cycle using birds as an intermediate host and carnivores as the end host. Within birds in later stages of infection the parasite creates cysts throughout the muscles, in particular the breast and leg, which look like grains of rice.
Further information about the disease in the USA, where it is relatively common in dabbling ducks, can be found here.
Risks to humans and domestic animals
Sarcocystis in birds is not thought to pose a risk to human health as cooking kills all stages of the parasite. However, it is not recommended to eat infected birds, nor to feed them to dogs.
Get involved in the surveillance
It is hoped that the UK Wildfowl Sarcocystis Survey will help us monitor the disease over time in the UK and better understand which bird species are affected and any impacts it may be having.
Wildfowlers are well placed to look out for this disease and report likely cases as the pathology is quite striking. If you are a wildfowler and find ducks or geese with what looks like rice breast disease please report cases using the Survey Form. Please use one form per case. If you are willing to save some affected tissues for further analysis that would be especially useful, please see the details on the form.
You will be able to view the results in surveillance reports posted here, once sufficient data is collated.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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