• Open Access

Bovine Besnoitiosis: An emerging disease in Europe


  • European Food Safety Authority

  • Correspondence: ahaw@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Besnoitiosis for the preparation of this EFSA scientific output: Mariano Domingo (Chair), Luis M. Ortega-Mora, Mo Salman, Marcus Doherr and EFSA's staff member Ana Afonso for the support provided to this EFSA scientific output. Special thanks for providing relevant information used in the drafting of this document are due to G. Alvarez-García (UCM, Spain), G. Schares (FLI, Germany), B. Gottstein (UBern, Switzerland), P. Jacquiet (ENVT, France), A. Gentile (UBol., Italy), H. Cortes (UEvor., Portugal) and P. García-Lunar (UCM, Spain).
  • Adoption date: 28 January 2010
  • Published date: 11 February 2010
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2009-00879
  • On request from: EFSA


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asked the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare to deliver a scientific statement on bovine besnoitiosis. Recent epidemiological data confirm an increased number of cases and geographic expansion of besnoitiosis in cattle herds in some EU MS therefore bovine besnoitiosis should be considered an emerging disease in the EU. However many aspects of the epidemiology of bovine besnoitiosis remain uncertain including prevalence and incidence of infection and disease in endemic areas, routes of transmission and risk-factors associated to infection and disease. The infection caused by the cyst-forming apicomplexan parasite Besnoitia besnoiti can cause serious adverse effects both during the acute and chronic phases of disease. The Panel has highlighted the importance to raise awareness about this disease in particular with farmers and veterinarians regarding clinical signs and the known transmission routes. Epidemiological investigations in endemic areas in Europe are necessary to elucidate the importance of infected animals and the routes of transmission. Diagnostic tools need to be further developed and standardized to address unanswered questions related to the epidemiology and clinical progression of the disease. Appropriate measures and strategies to control of besnoitiosis need to be investigated using the available epidemiological information.