Histopathological findings of Fasciola hepatica infection in non-native European hare (Lepus europaeus) in Southern Chile

Abstract Fasciola hepatica is a parasite introduced in America from Europe, being considered of concern for public health and animal production, especially in countries with endemic areas as occur in Chile. In this country, the research has been focused mainly in domestic ruminants, with native and introduced wildlife being largely ignored. Thus, the aim of this study was to report the infection by Fasciola hepatica in an introduced mammal, the European hare, which is distributed along a vast area of the country. One in 42 hares hunted showed histological lesions compatible with F. hepatica, and harbored a parasitic load of 6 liver flukes. This is the first report of this lagomorph acting as host of this helminth in the country and the third in South America. Yet, we found no previous reports regard the pathology of this fluke in the species. Thus, we emphasize the importance of more studies regarding introduced mammals which could be acting as reservoirs for this important fluke.