Hydatid disease in the Australian beef industry

Thirty-three percent of cattle slaughtered at an Australian abattoir over an eight-year period were infected with hydatid disease resulting in approximately AU$94,000 lost per year due to condemnation and downgrading of infected organs.

Hydatid disease is caused by a small tapeworm that lives in the intestines of dogs, dingoes and foxes. In cattle, sheep, kangaroos, wallabies, pigs and humans, fluid-filled hydatid cysts develop in the internal organs (offal). There are rarely any clinical signs, however, infection with hydatid cysts is usually identified at slaughter. Infected organs are condemned and rendered or downgraded to pet food leading to economic losses to the industry.

More information about Hydatid disease, including how it is transmitted and how it can be prevented can be found in this publication from Charles Sturt University: Hydatid disease in the Australian beef industry (PDF, 1 MB).