Sarcocystis (Rice Breast)


Commonly Infected Wildlife

Ducks, geese, and other birds. Mammals and reptiles can also be infected.

Is this Animal Infected?

Affected birds have cream-colored cysts resembling rice grains in the breast, heart, and leg muscles.

Cysts may feel gritty when cut with a knife.

Can I Get It?

No. There is no known risk to humans.

How bad can it get?

There is no known risk to humans.

Symptoms in humans

There is no known risk to humans.

Bird breast with cream-colored cysts
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
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Protect Myself and Others

  • Affected tissue is unappetizing and should not be eaten.
  • Parasites can be killed by cooking meat thoroughly.

Safe for Pets?

No. Pets may play a role in the transmission of parasites to birds. Do not feed infected carcasses to pets.

What Causes It?

A protozoan parasite in the genus Sarcocystis. There are a variety of Sarcocystis species.