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      Dirofilaria repens Infection Mimicking Lung Melanoma Metastasis

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          Abstract

          We describe a rare case of Dirofilaria repens infection presenting as peripheral lung nodules and mimicking a metastatic focus from a previously diagnosed cutaneous melanoma. To avoid invasive investigations before arriving at the correct diagnosis, dirofilariasis should be included as a part of the diagnostic process in subjects with lung nodules who live in (or have traveled to) endemic regions.

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          Subcutaneous dirofilariosis ( Dirofilaria repens ): an infection spreading throughout the old world

          Background Two main Dirofilaria species infect dogs: D. immitis and D. repens. While D. immitis has a worldwide distribution, D. repens is currently found only in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Adult D. repens are located in subcutaneous tissues of natural hosts where they survive for long periods of time. First-stage larvae, microfilariae, circulate in the peripheral bloodstream, where they are taken up by the mosquito intermediate hosts. Infected mosquitoes then transmit infective third-stage (L3) larvae to new hosts through the blood meal. In dogs, most infections are asymptomatic, although cutaneous disorders such as pruritus, dermal swelling, subcutaneous nodules, and ocular conjunctivitis can be observed. Currently, two factors have increased the concerns about this parasitic infection 1) its spread throughout the European countries and to other continents and its prevalence in dog populations, where in some cases it has overcome D. immitis; and 2) its zoonotic potential, which is much greater than that of D. immitis. Results Different hypotheses can be put forward to explain these concerns. First, climate change has allowed more favorable conditions for survival of culicid vectors. Second, accidental hosts such as humans may have a less efficient immune reaction against a parasite that is located in subcutaneous tissues, and thus less exposed to the host’s immune response than, for instance, D. immitis. Furthermore, the absence of clinical signs in the majority of canine infections and the difficulty in diagnosing the infection, due to the lack of serologic tests and thus the reliance on the identification of microfilariae and differentiation from D. immitis to confirm the presence of the parasite, favor the further spread of this species. Finally, among the macrocyclic lactones currently used to prevent heartworm infection, only moxidectin has been found to be fully effective against the infective larvae transmitted by mosquitoes and partially effective (efficacy 96%) against adult D. repens in experimental studies. Conclusions Dirofilaria repens infection is much more difficult than D. immitis to diagnose and control in the reservoir population (microfilaremic dogs). In addition, lack of familiarity with D. repens infection could lead to lack of vigilance underestimation for this parasite. The number of human cases in Europe and Asia is currently a serious public health concern. Medical doctors and veterinarians must collaborate closely for better control and surveillance of D. repens infection.
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            Recent advances on Dirofilaria repens in dogs and humans in Europe

            Dirofilaria repens is a nematode affecting domestic and wild canids, transmitted by several species of mosquitoes. It usually causes a non-pathogenic subcutaneous infection in dogs and is the principal agent of human dirofilariosis in the Old World. In the last decades, D. repens has increased in prevalence in areas where it has already been reported and its distribution range has expanded into new areas of Europe, representing a paradigmatic example of an emergent pathogen. Despite its emergence and zoonotic impact, D. repens has received less attention by scientists compared to Dirofilaria immitis. In this review we report the recent advances of D. repens infection in dogs and humans, and transmission by vectors, and discuss possible factors that influence the spread and increase of this zoonotic parasite in Europe. There is evidence that D. repens has spread faster than D. immitis from the endemic areas of southern Europe to northern Europe. Climate change affecting mosquito vectors and the facilitation of pet travel seem to have contributed to this expansion; however, in the authors’ opinion, the major factor is likely the rate of undiagnosed dogs continuing to perpetuate the life-cycle of D. repens. Many infected dogs remain undetected due to the subclinical nature of the disease, the lack of rapid and reliable diagnostic tools and the poor knowledge and still low awareness of D. repens in non-endemic areas. Improved diagnostic tools are warranted to bring D. repens diagnosis to the state of D. immitis diagnosis, as well as improved screening of imported dogs and promotion of preventative measures among veterinarians and dog owners. For vector-borne diseases involving pets, veterinarians play a significant role in prevention and should be more aware of their responsibility in reducing the impact of the zoonotic agents. In addition, they should enhance multisectorial collaboration with medical entomologists and the public health experts, under the concept and the actions of One Health-One Medicine. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s13071-018-3205-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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              Canine and human Dirofilaria infections in the Balkan Peninsula.

              Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens infections are mosquito-borne diseases, mainly of dogs. Both parasites are zoonotic, and they sometimes cause serious infections in humans. The aim of this short review was to examine the situation in the Balkan Peninsula, from where it is not always easy to obtain suitable data, often reported in journals and other publications difficult to be retrieved and with poor or no visibility. The review included data from international and regional literature, doctoral theses, and conference proceedings.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Open Forum Infect Dis
                Open Forum Infect Dis
                ofid
                Open Forum Infectious Diseases
                Oxford University Press (US )
                2328-8957
                March 2019
                09 February 2019
                09 February 2019
                : 6
                : 3
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Radiological, Oncological and Pathological Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                [3 ]Department of Thoracic Surgery, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Alessandra Oliva, MD, PhD, Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy ( alessandra.oliva@ 123456uniroma1.it ).
                Article
                ofz049
                10.1093/ofid/ofz049
                6419985
                © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Pages: 1
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