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      Prevalence of canine heartworm ( Dirofilaria immitis) disease in dogs of central Portugal

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          Abstract

          The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors concerning Dirofilaria immitis infection in dogs from Figueira da Foz, located in the central region of Portugal. In the period between November 2009 and January 2011, 304 blood samples were obtained from dogs over 1 year of age, with no previous history of heartworm prevention or diagnosis. Every blood sample was analyzed using varied laboratory techniques (direct microscopic evaluation of a fresh blood sample, the modified Knott technique, and the ELISA antigen detection test – IDEXX Snapp®). In the samples in which microfilaremia was detected, a histochemical technique using acid phosphatase staining was applied to identify the species of microfilariae. A total prevalence of 27.3% (83 out of 304) was found. We also found that 73.5% of all positive cases (61 out of 83) were microfilaremic, and 26.5% were occult infections (22 out of 83). By means of a histochemical technique Dirofilaria immitis was identified in 96.7% of microfilaremic samples. A multivariate model allowed us to identify the following risk factors for the presence of heartworm disease: age between 4 and 9 years, dogs living in a rural environment, large breed dogs, and living outdoors. This study shows for the first time the high prevalence of heartworm disease in a central area of Portugal and emphasizes the importance of systematic screening for this disease, as well as the need to prevent it in dogs in this area.

          Translated abstract

          Le but de cette étude était de déterminer la prévalence et les facteurs de risques de Dirofilaria immitis chez les chiens de Figueira da Foz, ville située dans la région centrale du Portugal. Entre Novembre 2009 et Janvier 2011, 304 échantillons de sang ont été prélevés chez les chiens de plus d’un an, sans antécédent de diagnostic ou prévention de Dirofilaria immitis. Chaque échantillon a été analysé en utilisant diverses techniques de laboratoire (évaluation directe au microscope d’un échantillon de sang frais, technique de Knott modifiée, test ELISA de détection des antigènes Idexx Snapp®). Pour les échantillons dans lesquels la présence de microfilaires a été détectée, une technique histochimique utilisant une coloration à la phosphatase acide a été utilisée pour identifier les espèces de microfilaires. Une prévalence totale de 27,3 % (83 sur 304) a été trouvée. Nous avons également constaté que 73,5 % de tous les cas positifs (61 sur 83) avaient des microfilaires, et que 26,5 % étaient des infections occultes (22 sur 83). Par une technique histochimique Dirofilaria immitis a été identifié dans 96,7 % des échantillons avec des microfilaires. Un modèle multivarié a identifié les risques suivants pour la présence de dirofilariose canine : âge entre 4 et 9 ans, vie en milieu rural, grande taille, vie à l’extérieur. Cette étude montre pour la première fois la forte prévalence de dirofilariose dans une zone centrale du Portugal et souligne l’importance du dépistage systématique de cette maladie ainsi que la nécessité de la prévenir chez les chiens de cette région.

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          On a Cercopithifilaria sp. transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus: a neglected, but widespread filarioid of dogs

          Background This study was aimed at investigating the distribution of a Cercopithifilaria sp. sensu Otranto et al., 2011 with dermal microfilariae recently identified in a dog from Sicily (Italy). A large epidemiological survey was conducted by examining skin samples (n = 917) and ticks (n = 890) collected from dogs at different time points in Italy, central Spain and eastern Greece. Results The overall prevalence of Cercopithifilaria sp. in the sampled animal populations was 13.9% and 10.5% by microscopy of skin sediments and by PCR on skin samples, respectively. Up to 21.6% and 45.5% of dogs in Spain were positive by microscopical examination and by PCR. Cumulative incidence rates ranging from 7.7% to 13.9% were estimated in dogs from two sites in Italy. A low level of agreement between the two diagnostic tests (microscopical examination and PCR) was recorded in sites where samples were processed in parallel. Infestation rate as determined by tick dissection (from 5.2% to 16.7%) was higher than that detected by PCR (from 0% to 3.9%); tick infestation was significantly associated with Cercopithifilaria sp. infestation in dogs from two out of four sites. Developing larvae found in ticks were morphometrically studied and as many as 1469 larvae were found in a single tick. Conclusions Our data suggest that, in addition to the most common species of filarioids known to infest dogs (i.e., Dirofilaria immitis, Dirofilaria repens and Acanthocheilonema reconditum), Cercopithifilaria sp. with dermal microfilariae should be considered due to its widespread distribution in southern Europe and high frequency in tick-exposed dogs.
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            Prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis, Ehrlichia canis, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma spp. and Leishmania infantum in apparently healthy and CVBD-suspect dogs in Portugal - a national serological study

            Background Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBDs) are caused by a wide range of pathogens transmitted to dogs by arthropods including ticks and insects. Many CVBD-agents are of zoonotic concern, with dogs potentially serving as reservoirs and sentinels for human infections. The present study aimed at assessing the seroprevalence of infection with or exposure to Dirofilaria immitis, Ehrlichia canis, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma spp. and Leishmania infantum in dogs in Portugal. Methods Based on 120 veterinary medical centres from all the regions of mainland and insular Portugal, 557 apparently healthy and 628 CVBD-suspect dogs were sampled. Serum, plasma or whole blood was tested for qualitative detection of D. immitis antigen and antibodies to E. canis, B. burgdorferi s. l., Anaplasma spp. and L. infantum with two commercial in-clinic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by logistic regression analysis to identify independent risk factors of exposure to the vector-borne agents. Results Total positivity levels to D. immitis, E. canis, B. burgdorferi, Anaplasma spp., L. infantum, one or more agents and mixed agents were 3.6%, 4.1%, 0.2%, 4.5%, 4.3%, 14.0% and 2.0% in the healthy group, and 8.9%, 16.4%, 0.5%, 9.2%, 25.2%, 46.3% and 11.6% in the clinically suspect group, respectively. Non-use of ectoparasiticides was a risk factor for positivity to one or more agents both in the apparently healthy (OR = 2.1) and CVBD-suspect (OR = 1.5) dogs. Seropositivity to L. infantum (OR = 7.6), E. canis (OR = 4.1) and D. immitis (OR = 2.4) were identified as risk factors for the presence of clinical signs compatible with CVBDs. Positivity to mixed agents was not found to be a risk factor for disease. Conclusions Dogs in Portugal are at risk of becoming infected with vector-borne pathogens, some of which are of zoonotic concern. CVBDs should be considered by practitioners and prophylactic measures must be put in place to protect dogs and limit the risk of transmission of vector-borne agents to humans. This study is expected to give veterinary and public health authorities an increased awareness about CVBDs in Portugal and to serve as a reference for future investigations and control actions.
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              What is new about animal and human dirofilariosis?

              Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens, the causal agents of cardiopulmonary and subcutaneous dirofilariosis, respectively, affect canine, feline and human populations with an increasing incidence in temperate and tropical areas of the world. In the past decade outstanding advances in the knowledge of dirofilariosis have been achieved. Nevertheless, questions such as the impact of climate change in the transmission and distribution of dirofilariosis, as well as a profound evaluation of both the role of Dirofilaria and Wolbachia and the proteins produced by them in the parasite-host relationship have not been fully addressed; therefore there must be milestones in dirofilariosis research in order to design new strategies and tools for the control of this disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Parasite
                Parasite
                parasite
                Parasite
                EDP Sciences
                1252-607X
                1776-1042
                2014
                19 February 2014
                : 21
                : ( publisher-idID: parasite/2014/01 )
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Catedrático Jefe del Servicio de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública del Hospital Clínico Universitario, Facultad de Medicina y Odontología, Universidade de Santiago Compostela España , Coordinador del Grupo de Santiago de Compostela del Centro de Investigación Biológica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), y del grupo de Epidemiología del Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IDIS) de Santiago de Compostela 15782 Santiago Compostela Spain
                [2 ] Catedrático de Universidad. Sanidad Animal. Grupo Investigación Sanidad Animal de Galicia (INVESAGA). Animal Pathology Department, Parasitology and Parasitic Disease. Facultad de Veterinaria de Lugo, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela 27002 Lugo España
                [3 ] Clinicão – Hospital Veterinário 3080 Figueira da Foz Portugal
                [4 ] EUVG – Escola Universitária Vasco da Gama 3000 Coimbra Portugal
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: vet.anavieira@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                parasite130064 10.1051/parasite/2014003
                10.1051/parasite/2014003
                3927308
                24534524
                © A.L. Vieira et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2014

                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 use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 50, Pages: 7
                Categories
                Research Article

                prevalence, dog, elisa, knott, portugal, dirofilaria immitis

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