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      Vector-borne helminths of dogs and humans in Europe

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          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.

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          Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants.

          Over the past 100 years, the global average temperature has increased by approximately 0.6 degrees C and is projected to continue to rise at a rapid rate. Although species have responded to climatic changes throughout their evolutionary history, a primary concern for wild species and their ecosystems is this rapid rate of change. We gathered information on species and global warming from 143 studies for our meta-analyses. These analyses reveal a consistent temperature-related shift, or 'fingerprint', in species ranging from molluscs to mammals and from grasses to trees. Indeed, more than 80% of the species that show changes are shifting in the direction expected on the basis of known physiological constraints of species. Consequently, the balance of evidence from these studies strongly suggests that a significant impact of global warming is already discernible in animal and plant populations. The synergism of rapid temperature rise and other stresses, in particular habitat destruction, could easily disrupt the connectedness among species and lead to a reformulation of species communities, reflecting differential changes in species, and to numerous extirpations and possibly extinctions.
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            Climate change and the recent emergence of bluetongue in Europe.

            Bluetongue, a devastating disease of ruminants, has historically made only brief, sporadic incursions into the fringes of Europe. However, since 1998, six strains of bluetongue virus have spread across 12 countries and 800 km further north in Europe than has previously been reported. We suggest that this spread has been driven by recent changes in European climate that have allowed increased virus persistence during winter, the northward expansion of Culicoides imicola, the main bluetongue virus vector, and, beyond this vector's range, transmission by indigenous European Culicoides species - thereby expanding the risk of transmission over larger geographical regions. Understanding this sequence of events may help us predict the emergence of other vector-borne pathogens.
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              Climate change and infectious diseases in Europe.

              Concerted action is needed to address public health issues raised by climate change. In this Review we discuss infections acquired through various routes (arthropod vector, rodent, water, food, and air) in view of a changing climate in Europe. Based on an extensive review of published work and expert workshops, we present an assessment of the infectious disease challenges: incidence, prevalence, and distribution are projected to shift in a changing environment. Due to the high level of uncertainty on the rate of climate change and its impact on infectious diseases, we propose to mount a proactive public health response by building an integrated network for environmental and epidemiological data. This network would have the capacity to connect epidemic intelligence and infectious disease surveillance with meteorological, entomological, water quality, remote sensing, and other data, for multivariate analyses and predictions. Insights from these analyses could then guide adaptation strategies and protect population health from impending threats related to climate change.

                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central
                16 January 2013
                : 6
                : 16
                [1 ]Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Bari, Valenzano, Italy
                [2 ]Departamento de Imunologia, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães (Fiocruz-PE), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
                [3 ]Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy
                [4 ]Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche Comparate, Università degli Studi di Teramo, Teramo, Italy
                [5 ]Laboratory for Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
                [6 ]Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Igiene e Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Milan, Milan, Italy
                [7 ]Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padova, Italy
                Copyright ©2013 Otranto et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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