Authors:Sándor Szekeres, Alexandra Juhász, Milán Kondor, Nóra Takács, László Sugár, and Sándor Hornok
Reports of Sarcocystis rileyi-like protozoa (‘rice breast disease’) from anseriform birds had been rare in Europe until the last two decades, when S. rileyi was identified in northern Europe and the UK. However, despite the economic losses resulting from S. rileyi infection, no recent accounts are available on its presence (which can be suspected) in most parts of central, western, southern and eastern Europe. Between 2014 and 2019, twelve mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were observed to have rice breast disease in Hungary, and the last one of these 12 cases allowed molecular identification of S. rileyi, as reported here. In addition, S. rileyi was molecularly identified in the faeces of one red fox (Vulpes vulpes). The hunting season for mallards in Hungary lasts from mid-August to January, which in Europe coincides with the wintering migration of anseriform birds towards the south. Based on this, as well as bird ringing data, it is reasonable to suppose that the first S. rileyi-infected mallards arrived in Hungary from the north. on the other hand, red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), which are final hosts of S. rileyi, are ubiquitous in Hungary, and our molecular finding confirms an already established autochthonous life cycle of S. rileyi in the region. Taken together, this is the first evidence for the occurrence of S. rileyi in Hungary and its region.