Cercopithifilaria bainae is a filarioid parasite that infects dogs, being transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus group ticks in many countries of the Mediterranean basin. This study assessed the incidence density rate (IDR) of infection by C. bainae in dogs and the probability of co-infection with other tick-borne pathogens (i.e., Anaplasma platys, Babesia vogeli and Hepatozoon canis), in an area of high endemicity in southern Italy.
From March 2011 to October 2012, a field study involving 58 young dogs naturally exposed to tick infestation was conducted. Skin and blood samples obtained from each dog six times during an 18-month period were tested for C. bainae by parasite detection within skin snip sediments, with subsequent confirmation through PCR and DNA sequencing. Dogs examined monthly for ticks and A. platys, B. vogeli and H. canis were microscopically and/or molecularly diagnosed and after the first and the second summer seasons, the IDR for positive animal-month at risk was 3.8% and 1.7% in November 2011 and October 2012, respectively. All 58 C. bainae-infected dogs were simultaneously infected with at least one other tick-borne pathogen. After the first summer season (assessment in November 2011), a C. bainae-infected dog had a 33% probability of being infected with H. canis or A. platys, whereas after the second tick season (assessment in October 2012) the probability of co-infection was 78%, 22% and 11% for H. canis, A. platys and B. vogeli, respectively.
Our data indicate that tick-infested dogs are at risk of acquiring infection by C. bainae. In addition, the detection of C. bainae microfilariae indicates a prior tick exposure and, should stimulate testing for other tick-borne disease causing pathogens.
Ticks belonging to the Rhipicephalus sanguineus group are amongst the most important vectors of pathogenic microorganisms to dogs and humans. However, the taxonomy of this species group is still the subject of debate, especially because there is no type specimen or reliable morphological description for Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu stricto. Recently, a comprehensive morphological and genetic study on representative tick specimens from Europe, Africa, Americas, and Oceania, revealed the existence of at least four morphologically and genetically distinct species under the name ‘R. sanguineus’ infesting dogs from different countries.
Herein, we examined morphologically tick specimens retrieved on a dog mummy from Ancient Egypt (ca. 1st century – 4th century A.D.). The dog mummy and associated ticks were found during an archaeological expedition conducted in El Deir.
Scanning electron micrographs allowed us to assess their identity as belonging to the R. sanguineus group. In addition on the basis of the scutal punctation pattern, spiracular plates, width of dorsal tail of spiracular plates relative to the adjacent festoon, female genital aperture, male adanal plates and accessory shields, these ticks were tentatively identified as Rhipicephalus sp. II (=temperate species).
It can be concluded that R. sanguineus group ticks have infested dogs living in the Mediterranean region since ancient times. This finding represents the oldest record of ticks on any animal species and adds a new piece in the complex puzzle regarding tick parasitism on dogs and humans and their role as vectors of pathogens.
Tick; Rhipicephalus sanguineus; Dog mummy; Archeoparasitology; Origins
Dogs and cats in Brazil serve as primary hosts for a considerable number of parasites, which may affect their health and wellbeing. These may include endoparasites (e.g., protozoa, cestodes, trematodes, and nematodes) and ectoparasites (i.e., fleas, lice, mites, and ticks). While some dog and cat parasites are highly host-specific (e.g., Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Felicola subrostratus for cats, and Angiostrongylus vasorum and Trichodectes canis for dogs), others may easily switch to other hosts, including humans. In fact, several dog and cat parasites (e.g., Toxoplasma gondii, Dipylidium caninum, Ancylostoma caninum, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Toxocara canis) are important not only from a veterinary perspective but also from a medical standpoint. In addition, some of them (e.g., Lynxacarus radovskyi on cats and Rangelia vitalii in dogs) are little known to most veterinary practitioners working in Brazil. This article is a compendium on dog and cat parasites in Brazil and a call for a One Health approach towards a better management of some of these parasites, which may potentially affect humans. Practical aspects related to the diagnosis, treatment, and control of parasitic diseases of dogs and cats in Brazil are discussed.
Dogs; Cats; Humans; Zoonosis; Control; South America
A clinical outbreak of bovine piroplasmosis was reported in Italy. The etiological agent was characterized as Babesia occultans, a parasite regarded as apathogenic and never detected before in continental Europe. This report paves the way for further studies to assess the occurrence of this tick-transmitted protozoan in other European regions.
Among the arthropod-borne nematodes infesting dogs, Onchocerca lupi (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) is of increasing zoonotic concern, with new human cases of infection diagnosed in Turkey, Tunisia, Iran and the USA. Knowledge of the biology of this nematode is meagre. This study aimed at assessing the distribution and periodicity of O. lupi microfilariae from different body regions in naturally infested dogs.
Skin samples were collected from six dogs infested with O. lupi but without apparent clinical signs. Two skin samples were collected from 18 anatomical regions of dog 1 at necropsy. In addition, single skin biopsies were performed from the forehead, inter-scapular and lumbar regions of dogs 2–6, in the morning, afternoon, and at night. Two aliquots of the sediment of each sample were microscopically observed, microfilariae counted and morphologically and molecularly identified. Most of the 1,667 microfilariae retrieved from dog 1 were in the right ear (59.6%), nose (26.5%), left ear (6.7%), forehead (3.0%), and inter-scapular (2.9%) regions. In dogs 2–6, the overall mean number of microfilariae was larger on the head (n = 122.8), followed by the inter-scapular (n = 119.0) and lumbar (n = 12.8) regions. The overall mean number of microfilariae was larger in the afternoon (153.4), followed by night (75.4) and morning (25.8).
Onchocerca lupi microfilariae were more common in the head (i.e., ears and nose) than in the remaining part of the dog's body, indicating they tend to aggregate in specific body regions, which are the best sites to collect skin samples for diagnostic purposes. The periodicity pattern of microfilariae of O. lupi and their concentration in specific body regions is most likely a result of the co-evolution with their as-yet-unknown vector. The detection of skin microfilariae in asymptomatic animals, suggests the potential role of these animals as carriers and reservoirs of O. lupi.
Onchocerca lupi is a little known arthropod-borne helminth infesting dogs of increasing interest to the scientific community due to the recent demonstration of its zoonotic potential. Nonetheless, knowledge of the biology of this nematode is exiguous. In this study the distribution and periodicity of O. lupi microfilariae was investigated from different body regions in naturally infested dogs. Data indicate that O. lupi microfilariae were more common in the head (i.e., ears and nose) followed by the inter-scapular region than in the remaining part of the dog's body suggesting that these parasites aggregate in these anatomical sites. These regions might be the best sites to collect skin samples for diagnostic purposes. Finally, the periodicity pattern of microfilariae of O. lupi and their concentration in specific body regions is most likely a result of the co-evolution with their as-yet-unknown vector.
Onchocerca lupi infection is reported primarily in symptomatic dogs. We aimed to determine the infection in dogs from areas of Greece and Portugal with reported cases. Of 107 dogs, 9 (8%) were skin snip–positive for the parasite. DNA sequences of parasites in specimens from distinct dog populations differed genetically from thoses in GenBank.
Onchocerca lupi; dogs; zoonoses; infection; Portugal; Greece; parasites
Onchocerca lupi is a dog parasite of increasing zoonotic concern, with new human cases diagnosed in Turkey, Tunisia, Iran, and the United States. Information about the morphology of this nematode is scant and a detailed re-description of this species is overdue. In addition, histopathological data of potential usefulness for the identification of O. lupi infections are provided.
Male and female nematodes, collected from the connective tissue of a dog, were examined using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and an histological evaluation was performed on biopsy samples from periocular tissues.
The morphological identification was confirmed by molecular amplification and partial sequencing of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene. This study provides the first comprehensive morphological and morphometric description of O. lupi from a dog based on light microscopy, SEM, molecular characterization, and histological observations.
Data herein presented contribute to a better understanding of this little known parasitic zoonosis, whose impact on human and animal health is still underestimated. The presence of granulomatous reactions only around the female adult suggests that the release of microfilariae from the uterus might be the cause of the inflammatory reaction observed.
Onchocerca lupi; Vector-borne disease; Scanning electron microscopy; Light microscopy; Histology; Zoonosis
•First report of Cercopithifilaria rugosicauda in a roe deer and ticks from Italy.•This study provides new morphological data on this little known nematode.•The genetic data provide for the first time information on mitochondrial genes of C. rugosicauda.
Cercopithifilaria rugosicauda (Spirurida, Onchocercidae) is a subcutaneous filarial nematode of the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) transmitted by Ixodes ricinus (Acari, Ixodidae). At the necropsy of a roe deer from the Parco Regionale di Gallipoli Cognato (Basilicata region, southern Italy), two female nematodes of C. rugosicauda were found. Following the necropsy, seven skin snips were sampled from different body regions and 96 I. ricinus ticks were collected. In addition, 240 ticks were collected by dragging in the enclosure where the roe deer lived. Samples were examined for the presence of C. rugosicauda larvae and assayed by PCR targeting cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1, ∼300 bp) and 12S rDNA (∼330 bp) gene fragments. Female nematodes, microfilariae from skin samples and eight third stage larvae (L3) from ticks were morphologically and molecularly identified as C. rugosicauda. Phylogenetic analyses clustered this species with other sequences of Cercopithifilaria spp. This study represents the first report of C. rugosicauda in a roe deer and ticks from Italy and provides new morphological and molecular data on this little known nematode.
Cercopithifilaria rugosicauda; Ixodes ricinus; Roe deer; Capreolus capreolus
Dirofilarioses are widespread diseases caused by filarioid nematodes (superfamily Filarioidea) of the genus Dirofilaria, which are transmitted by a plethora of mosquito species. The principal agent of canine dirofilariosis in the Americas is Dirofilaria immitis, which may also occasionally infest humans, resulting in pulmonary nodules that may be confounded with malignant lung tumours. Because human cases of dirofilariosis by D. immitis are relatively frequent in the Americas and rare in Europe and other eastern countries, where Dirofilaria repens is the main causative agent, the existence of a more virulent strain of D. immitis in the Americas has been speculated. Recently, a case of human ocular infestation by Dirofilaria sp. was diagnosed in Pará State, northern Brazil, where canine heartworm dirofilariosis is endemic. The nematode was shown to be morphologically and phylogenetically related to D. immitis but it was genetically distinct from reference sequences, including those of D. immitis infesting dogs in the same geographical area. This finding raised questions regarding the aetiology of human dirofilariosis in the Americas, since information on the genetic makeup of filarioids infesting dogs and humans is meagre. Further studies would be needed to better characterize filarioids infesting dogs, wild animals, and humans in the Americas and to assess the existence of a more virulent D. immitis strain in this continent. Finally, the competence of different culicid species/strains from Europe and the Americas as vectors of Dirofilaria species should be investigated. Such studies would help us to understand possible variations in transmission patterns and even to predict possible scenarios that may emerge in the future, with the introduction of non-endemic Dirofilaria species/strains in free areas through importation of infested animals, vectors, or both.
Dirofilaria immitis; Americas; Genetics; Pathogenicity; Virulence; Zoonosis
Global climate change can seriously impact on the epidemiological dynamics of vector-borne diseases. In this study we investigated how future climatic changes could affect the climatic niche of Ixodes ricinus (Acari, Ixodida), among the most important vectors of pathogens of medical and veterinary concern in Europe.
Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) was used to reconstruct the climatic niche of I. ricinus, and to project it into the future conditions for 2050 and 2080, under two scenarios: a continuous human demographic growth and a severe increase of gas emissions (scenario A2), and a scenario that proposes lower human demographic growth than A2, and a more sustainable gas emissions (scenario B2). Models were reconstructed using the algorithm of “maximum entropy”, as implemented in the software Maxent 3.3.3e; 4,544 occurrence points and 15 bioclimatic variables were used.
In both scenarios an increase of climatic niche of about two times greater than the current area was predicted as well as a higher climatic suitability under the scenario B2 than A2. Such an increase occurred both in a latitudinal and longitudinal way, including northern Eurasian regions (e.g. Sweden and Russia), that were previously unsuitable for the species.
Our models are congruent with the predictions of range expansion already observed in I. ricinus at a regional scale and provide a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the future climatically suitable areas for I. ricinus at a continental scale. Although the use of SDM at a higher resolution should be integrated by a more refined analysis of further abiotic and biotic data, the results presented here suggest that under future climatic scenarios most of the current distribution area of I. ricinus could remain suitable and significantly increase at a continental geographic scale. Therefore disease outbreaks of pathogens transmitted by this tick species could emerge in previous non-endemic geographic areas. Further studies will implement and refine present data toward a better understanding of the risk represented by I. ricinus to human health.
Climatic changes; Future climatic niche; Species distribution modeling; Tick; Vector-borne disease; Lyme disease; Babesiosis; Anaplasmosis; Erlichiosis and tick-borne encephalitis
Tick-borne diseases comprise a group of maladies that are of substantial medical and veterinary significance. A range of tick-borne pathogens, including diverse species of bacteria and protozoa, can infect both dogs and humans. Hence, the control of tick infestations is pivotal to decrease or prevent tick-borne pathogen transmission. Therefore, different commercial products with insecticidal, repellent or both properties have been developed for use on dogs. Recently, a collar containing a combination of imidacloprid 10% and flumethrin 4.5% has proven effective to prevent tick and flea infestations in dogs under field conditions and the infection by some vector-borne pathogens they transmit under laboratory-controlled conditions.
From March 2011 to April 2012, a field study was conducted in a private shelter in southern Italy to assess the efficacy of the imidacloprid/flumethrin collar against tick and flea infestations and to determine if this strategy would decrease tick-borne pathogen transmission in young dogs. A total of 122 animals were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned to group A (n = 64; collared) or group B (n = 58; untreated controls). Dogs were examined monthly for ticks and fleas and systematically tested for selected tick-borne pathogens.
Compared to controls, the collar provided overall efficacies of 99.7% and 100% against tick and flea infestation, respectively. The overall efficacy for the prevention of tick-borne pathogens (i.e., Anaplasma platys and Babesia vogeli) was 91.6%.
This study demonstrates that the imidacloprid/flumethrin collar is efficacious against flea and tick infestation as well as tick-borne pathogen transmission to dogs under field conditions.
Canine vector-borne diseases; Anaplasma platys; Babesia vogeli; Hepatozoon canis; Prevention; Dog; Imidacloprid; Flumethrin; Tick
The taxonomic status of the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu stricto), which has long been regarded as the most widespread tick worldwide and a vector of many pathogens to dogs and humans, is currently under dispute.
We conducted a comprehensive morphological and genetic study of 278 representative specimens, which belonged to different species (i.e., Rhipicephalus bursa, R. guilhoni, R. microplus, R. muhsamae, R. pusillus, R. sanguineus sensu lato, and R. turanicus) collected from Europe, Asia, Americas, and Oceania. After detailed morphological examination, ticks were molecularly processed for the analysis of partial mitochondrial (16S rDNA, 12S rDNA, and cox1) gene sequences.
In addition to R. sanguineus s.l. and R. turanicus, three different operational taxonomic units (namely, R. sp. I, R. sp. II, and R. sp. III) were found on dogs. These operational taxonomical units were morphologically and genetically different from R. sanguineus s.l. and R. turanicus. Ticks identified as R. sanguineus s.l., which corresponds to the so-called “tropical species” (=northern lineage), were found in all continents and genetically it represents a sister group of R. guilhoni. R. turanicus was found on a wide range of hosts in Italy and also on dogs in Greece.
The tropical species and the temperate species (=southern lineage) are paraphyletic groups. The occurrence of R. turanicus in the Mediterranean region is confirmed. A consensual re-description of R. sanguineus s.s. and R. turanicus will be necessary to solve the taxonomic problems within the so-called R. sanguineus group.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus; Taxonomy; Morphology; Phylogeny
Three species of the genus Cercopithifilaria have been morphologically and molecularly characterized in dog populations in southern Europe: Cercopithifilaria grassii (Noè, 1907), Cercopithifilaria sp. sensu Otranto et al., 2011 (reported as Cercopithifilaria sp. I), and Cercopithifilaria sp. II sensu Otranto et al., 2012. The adults of Cercopithifilaria sp. I have remained unknown until the present study.
The material originated from a dog from Sardinia (Italy) diagnosed with dermal microfilariae of Cercopithifilaria sp. I. The holotype and three paratypes of Cercopithifilaria bainae Almeida & Vicente, 1984, described from dogs in Brazil, were studied as comparative material. A cox1 (~689 bp) and 12S (~330 bp) gene fragments were amplified and phylogenetic analysis carried out.
The highest numbers of adult nematodes (82%) were collected in the sediment of the subcutaneous tissues of the trunk (n = 37) and forelimbs (n = 36). The morphology of the adult nematodes and microfilariae collected from the dog in Sardinia corresponded to those of C. bainae. All cox1 and 12S gene sequences showed a high homology (99-100%) with sequences from microfilariae of Cercopithifilaria sp. I.
The morphological and molecular identity of the microfilariae of C. bainae overlap those described previously as Cercopithifilaria sp. sensu Otranto et al., 2011 (=Cercopithifilaria sp. I). Therefore, the present study reports the occurrence of C. bainae in Europe, for the first time after its description and the single record in Brazil. C. bainae appears to be highly diffused in dog populations in southern Europe. The phylogenetic analyses based on cox1 and 12S do not reveal the three species of Cercopithifilaria parasitizing dogs as a monophyletic group, which suggests that they have derived independently by host switching.
Canine filarioids; Cercopithifilaria sp. I; Cercopithifilaria sp. II; Cercopithifilaria bainae; Cercopithifilaria grassii; Taxonomy; Europe
Hypoderma tarandi; reindeer warble fly; human; Scandinavia; parasites; myiasis
Here we describe a case of paediatric visceral leishmaniasis recorded in an infant initially suspected for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia due to the clinical and haematological presentation. Eventually the patient was found positive for Leishmania infantum infection and successfully treated. This case emphasises how pivotal a ‘One Health’ approach is for diagnosing this zoonotic disease; highlighting the importance of including Visceral Leishmaniasis in the differential diagnosis of leukaemia-like syndromes in infants travelling to, and living in, the Mediterranean region.
The occurrence of infections by Dirofilaria immitis in canine and human populations depends on several factors linked to both the definitive and intermediate hosts. Little data are available on the risk of human and dog exposure to D. immitis in endemic areas. Data collected on dog- and human-bait traps in endemic areas of north-eastern Italy were used to estimate the likelihood of a receptive host coming into contact with an infected vector.
From 1997 to 1999, mosquitoes were collected from three sampling sites of north-eastern Italy on D. immitis microfilaraemic dogs and on human baits. The bite/night/host rates were determined based on the number of feeding and probing mosquitoes on dogs and humans, respectively. The survival/mortality rates of different species of mosquitoes following the blood meal, and the rate of natural Dirofilaria infection in unfed specimens were estimated. The risk of exposure of dogs and humans to infected mosquito species was determined by combining the bite/host/night and the mosquito infection rates.
A total of 1,165 mosquitoes were collected on human (n = 815) and dog (n = 350) baits with varying species composition (i.e., Culex pipiens, 87.3% and Ochlerotatus caspius, 11.6%). Overall, dogs were more attractive to Cx pipiens than humans (feeding rate 70.2% vs probing rate 25.9%). The highest bite/night/host rate was 84.0 for dogs and 26.5 for humans. Cx pipiens displayed a mortality rate of 76.3% within 13 days and Oc. caspius of 100% within two days following the infective blood meal. In addition, D. immitis DNA was detected in unfed Cx pipiens (infection rate of 0.26%-2.07%). The infection rate adjusted for mosquito mortality was 0.38%. Based on data collected, the contact between an infected mosquito and a host can occur as often as every four nights for D. immitis infected-mosquitoes in dogs and within two weeks for humans.
Cx pipiens was confirmed as the most efficient natural vector of D. immitis in the studied area. In endemic areas, the risk of transmission can be very high for dogs and relevant for humans. Despite the increased awareness of veterinarians and owners on canine dirofilarioses, dogs from rural areas still maintain the natural life cycle of Dirofilaria spp., therefore acting as a source of infection to humans through vector bites.
Dirofilaria immitis; Mosquito vectors; Dogs; Humans; Risk of exposure
Dogs are the main reservoir hosts of Leishmania infantum, the agent of human zoonotic visceral leishmaniosis. This study investigated the efficacy of a polymer matrix collar containing a combination of 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin as a novel prophylactic measure to prevent L. infantum infections in young dogs from a hyper-endemic area of southern Italy, with a view towards enhancing current control strategies against both human and canine leishmaniosis.
The study was carried out on 124 young dogs, of which 63 were collared (Group A) while 61 were left untreated (Group B), from March-April 2011 until March 2012. Blood and skin samples were collected at baseline (April 2011) and at the first, second, third and fourth follow-up time points (July, September 2011 and November 2011, and March 2012, respectively). Bone marrow and conjunctiva were sampled at baseline and at the fourth follow-up. Serological, cytological and molecular tests were performed to detect the presence of L. infantum in the different tissues collected. At the end of the trial, no dog from Group A proved positive for L. infantum at any follow-up, whereas 22 dogs from Group B were infected (incidence density rate = 45.1%); therefore, the combination of 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin was 100% efficacious for the prevention of L. infantum infection in young dogs prior to their first exposure to the parasite in a hyper-endemic area for CanL.
The use of collars containing 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin conferred long-term protection against infection by L. infantum to dogs located in a hyper-endemic area, thus representing a reliable and sustainable strategy to decrease the frequency and spread of this disease among the canine population which will ultimately result in the reduction of associated risks to human health.
Human thelaziosis is an underestimated parasitic disease caused by Thelazia species (Spirurida: Thelaziidae). The oriental eyeworm, Thelazia callipaeda, infects a range of mammalian definitive hosts, including canids, felids and humans. Although this zoonotic parasite is of socio-economic significance in Asian countries, its genetics, epidemiology and biology are poorly understood. Mitochondrial (mt) DNA is known to provide useful genetic markers to underpin fundamental investigations, but no mt genome had been characterized for any members of the family Thelaziidae. In the present study, we sequenced and characterized the mt genome of T. callipaeda. This AT-rich (74.6%) mt genome (13,668 bp) is circular and contains 12 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and two ribosomal RNA genes, but lacks an atp8 gene. All protein-coding genes are transcribed in the same direction; the gene order is the same as those of Dirofilaria immitis and Setaria digitata (Onchocercidae), but distinct from Dracunculus medinensis (Dracunculidae) and Heliconema longissimum (Physalopteridae). Phylogenetic analyses of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for all 12 protein-coding genes by Bayesian inference (BI) showed that T. callipaeda (Thelaziidae) is related to the family Onchocercidae. This is the first mt genome of any member of the family Thelaziidae and should represent a new source of genetic markers for studying the epidemiology, ecology, population genetics and systematics of this parasite of humans and other mammals.
Human thelaziosis is an underestimated parasitic disease caused by the eyeworm Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida: Thelaziidae). Although this parasite is of significance in humans in many Asian countries, its genetics, epidemiology and biology are poorly understood. Mitochondrial (mt) DNA can provide useful genetic markers for fundamental investigations, but no mt genome had been characterized for any members of the family Thelaziidae. In this study, we sequenced and characterized the mt genome of T. callipaeda. This circular mt genome is 13,668 bp long and contains 12 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and two ribosomal RNA genes, but lacks an atp8 gene. Phylogenetic analyses of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for all 12 protein-coding genes by Bayesian inference showed that T. callipaeda is closely related to the family Onchocercidae, consistent with previous study. This is the first mt genome of any member of the family Thelaziidae, and represents a new source of genetic markers for studies of the epidemiology, ecology, population genetics and systematics of this parasite of human and animal health significance.
Presently, 45% of the total human population of Europe, as well as their domestic and companion animals, are exposed to the risk of vector-borne helminths (VBH) causing diseases. A plethora of intrinsic biological and extrinsic factors affect the relationship among helminths, vectors and animal hosts, in a constantly changing environment. Although canine dirofilarioses by Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens are key examples of the success of VBH spreading into non-endemic areas, another example is represented by Thelazia callipaeda eyeworm, an emergent pathogen of dogs, cats and humans in several regions of Europe. The recent finding of Onchocerca lupi causing canine and human infestation in Europe and overseas renders the picture of VBH even more complicated. Similarly, tick-transmitted filarioids of the genus Cercopithifilaria infesting the skin of dogs were recently shown to be widespread in Europe. Although for most of the VBH above there is an increasing accumulation of research data on their distribution at national level, the overall impact of the diseases they cause in dogs and humans is not fully recognised in many aspects. This review investigates the reasons underlying the increasing trend in distribution of VBH in Europe and discusses the diagnostic and control strategies currently available. In addition, this article provides the authors’ opinion on some topics related to VBH that would deserve further scientific investigation.
Zoonosis; Dirofilaria immitis; Dirofilaria repens; Onchocerca lupi; Cercopithifilaria; Thelazia callipaeda; Europe; Risk; Mosquito; Tick; Vector; Treatment; Control
Capillaria aerophila, a trichuroid nematode causing pulmonary infections in wild and domestic carnivores, is occasionally and potentially poorly recognized in infections of humans due to clinicopathological mimicry and a lack of accurate, robust laboratory diagnostics. The present work evaluated the efficiency of a DNA-based assay amplifying a partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene of C. aerophila in the diagnosis of lung capillariosis. Fecal samples from 34 dogs and 10 cats positive at parasitological examination for C. aerophila and other endoparasites (i.e., other lungworms, whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and/or coccidia) and from 44 animals negative for C. aerophila but positive for other endoparasites were molecularly examined. Of the 44 samples positive for C. aerophila at copromicroscopy, 43 scored positive (i.e., 33/34 dogs and 10/10 cats) in seminested PCR, resulting in a sensitivity of 97 to 100%. Samples that were copromicroscopy negative for C. aerophila although positive for other endoparasites never produced a PCR product or nonspecific amplicons. The specific PCR amplification of C. aerophila (i.e., specificity of 100%) was confirmed by a nucleotide sequence analysis of the cox1 amplicons. The potential implications of the molecular diagnosis of lung capillariosis are discussed.
After Thelazia callipaeda infection in dogs and cats were reported in Spain, a human case of thelaziosis in this country was reported, suggesting zoonotic transmission. The active reproductive status of this nematode in situ indicates that humans are competent hosts for this parasite.
Thelazia callipaeda; parasites; helminths; thelaziosis; humans; eye; zoonosis; diagnosis; zoonotic infection; Phortica variegate; Spain
Parasitic diseases can represent a social and economic problem among disadvantaged people - even in developed countries. Due to the limited data available concerning Europe, the aims of the present study were to evaluate the presence of parasites in immigrant children and the risk factors favouring the spread of parasites. Subsequently, the possible correlation between nutritional status and parasitic infections was also investigated.
A convenience sample of two hundred and forty seven immigrant children (aged 0–15) attending the Poliambulatorio della Medicina Solidale in Rome was examined. Data were collected using structured questionnaires, and parasitological and anthropometric tests were applied. Chi-squared test and binary logistic multiple-regression models were used for statistical analysis.
Thirty-seven children (15%) tested positive to parasites of the following species: Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba coli, Giardia duodenalis, Enterobius vermicularis, Ascaris lumbricoides and Strongyloides stercoralis. A monospecific infection was detected in 30 (81%) out of 37 parasitized children, while the others (19%) presented a polyparasitism. The major risk factors were housing, i.e. living in shacks, and cohabitation with other families (p<0.01). Children classified in the lower height Z-scores had a significantly greater prevalence of parasites (30.9%) than the others (p<0.01).
This study shows that parasite infection in children is still quite common, even in a developed country and that children’s growth and parasitism may be related. Extensive improvements in the living, social and economic conditions of immigrants are urgently needed in order to overcome these problems.
Intestinal parasites; Risk factors; Nutritional status; Immigrant children; Developed country
Aelurostrongylus abstrusus is currently regarded as the main metastrongyloid infesting domestic cats, whereas the reports of Troglostrongylus spp. in domestic and wild felids largely remain anecdotic. This paper reports on pulmonary infestation caused by Troglostrongylus brevior and Troglostrongylus subcrenatus in two kittens and describes, for the first time, associated clinical presentations and pathological features. Morphometrical, molecular and phylogenetic analyses have also been conducted to differentiate here the examined Troglostrongylus species from A. abstrusus, towards a clearer delineation of metastrongyloids affecting cats.
Two kittens were referred for respiratory distress and hospitalized with a diagnosis of severe aelurostrongylosis, based on the presence of metastrongyloid larvae in the faeces. Despite prompt treatment, kittens died within 48 hours. Both kittens were submitted to necropsy to determine the cause of death.
At necropsy, nematode specimens were found in the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles and were associated with respiratory signs (i.e., dyspnoea, polypnea, severe coughing and nasal discharge). Morphology and measurements of adult parasites found allowed the unequivocal identification of T. brevior and T. subcrenatus, even if first stage larvae were rather similar to those of A. abstrusus. Briefly, T. brevior and T. subcrenatus larvae were shorter in length and lacking the typical knob-like terminal end of A. abstrusus. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses corroborated morphological identification and provided data on mitochondrial and ribosomal DNA genes of T. brevior.
Data presented here indicate that T. brevior and T. subcrenatus may cause major respiratory distress in domestic cats. Consequently, these two species should be included, along with A. abstrusus, in the differential diagnosis of cat bronchopulmonary affections and treatment protocols need to be evaluated. Through research on the biology, epidemiology and control of Troglostrongylus spp. infestations in domestic cats are advisable to implement current knowledge on these neglected metastrongyloids.
Aelurostrongylus abstrusus; Cat; Diagnosis; Italy; Metastrongyloidea; Molecular biology; Troglostrongylus brevior; Troglostrongylus subcrenatus
Onchocerca lupi; vector; Greece; scientific expedition; parasitology; eye; vector-borne infections; parasites; nematodes
Capillaria aerophila, Capillaria boehmi and Trichuris vulpis are trichuroid nematodes affecting wild and companion animals all over the World. The canine intestinal whipworm, T. vulpis, is the most common and well- known in veterinary practice, whereas the respiratory C. aerophila and C. boehmi have been rarely reported in pets as a likely consequence of overlapping morphometric and morphological features of the eggs, which impair a correct etiological diagnosis.
In December 2011, a mixed infestation by T. vulpis, C. aerophila and C. boehmi was diagnosed in an asymptomatic dog living in central Italy. Morphometric and morphological findings and pictures of the eggs found at the copromicroscopic analysis are herein reported.
The present work demonstrates that when trichuroid eggs are found in a faecal sample from a dog, a careful morphological and morphometric analysis of individual parasite elements is mandatory. Key diagnostic features (i.e., size, wall surface pattern and aspects of plugs) should be carefully examined when eggs with overlapping shape and appearance are detected. In conclusion, given the importance in clinical practice of canine trichuroids and the zoonotic potential of C. aerophila, these nematodes should be included into the differential diagnosis of intestinal and respiratory parasitoses of dogs by a thorough microscopic analysis of all trichuroid ova present in microscopic fields.
Capillaria aerophila; Capillaria boehmi; Trichuris vulpis; Italy; Mixed infestation; Diagnosis