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      Heartworm Disease ( Dirofilaria immitis) and Their Vectors in Europe – New Distribution Trends

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          Abstract

          Cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis is a cosmopolitan disease caused by Dirofilaria immitis, which affects mainly canids and felids. Moreover, it causes zoonotic infections, producing pulmonary dirofilariasis in humans. Heartworm disease is a vector-borne transmitted disease, thus transmission depends on the presence of competent mosquito species, which is directly related to favorable climate conditions for its development and survival. Cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis is mainly located in countries with temperate and tropical climates. Europe is one of the continents where animal dirofilariasis has been studied more extensively. In this article we review the current prevalence of canine and feline cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis in the European continent, the transmission vectors, the current changes in the distribution and the possible causes, though the analysis of the epidemiological studies carried out until 2001 and between 2002 and 2011. The highest prevalences have been observed in the southern European countries, which are considered historically endemic/hyperendemic countries. Studies carried out in the last 10 years suggest an expansion of cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis in dogs toward central and northern Europe. Several factors can exert an influence on the spreading of the disease, such as movement of infected animals, the introduction of new species of mosquitoes able to act as vectors, the climate change caused by the global warming, and development of human activity in new areas. Veterinary controls to prevent the spreading of this disease, programs of control of vectors, and adequate protocols of prevention of dirofilariasis in the susceptible species should be carried out.

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          Most cited references 169

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          Two decades of urban climate research: a review of turbulence, exchanges of energy and water, and the urban heat island

           A. Arnfield (2003)
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            Critical review of the vector status of Aedes albopictus.

             N G Gratz (2004)
            The mosquito Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae), originally indigenous to South-east Asia, islands of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, has spread during recent decades to Africa, the mid-east, Europe and the Americas (north and south) after extending its range eastwards across Pacific islands during the early 20th century. The majority of introductions are apparently due to transportation of dormant eggs in tyres. Among public health authorities in the newly infested countries and those threatened with the introduction, there has been much concern that Ae. albopictus would lead to serious outbreaks of arbovirus diseases (Ae. albopictus is a competent vector for at least 22 arboviruses), notably dengue (all four serotypes) more commonly transmitted by Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti (L.). Results of many laboratory studies have shown that many arboviruses are readily transmitted by Ae. albopictus to laboratory animals and birds, and have frequently been isolated from wild-caught mosquitoes of this species, particularly in the Americas. As Ae. albopictus continues to spread, displacing Ae. aegypti in some areas, and is anthropophilic throughout its range, it is important to review the literature and attempt to predict whether the medical risks are as great as have been expressed in scientific journals and the popular press. Examination of the extensive literature indicates that Ae. albopictus probably serves as a maintenance vector of dengue in rural areas of dengue-endemic countries of South-east Asia and Pacific islands. Also Ae. albopictus transmits dog heartworm Dirofilaria immitis (Leidy) (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) in South-east Asia, south-eastern U.S.A. and both D. immitis and Dirofilaria repens (Raillet & Henry) in Italy. Despite the frequent isolation of dengue viruses from wild-caught mosquitoes, there is no evidence that Ae. albopictus is an important urban vector of dengue, except in a limited number of countries where Ae. aegypti is absent, i.e. parts of China, the Seychelles, historically in Japan and most recently in Hawaii. Further research is needed on the dynamics of the interaction between Ae. albopictus and other Stegomyia species. Surveillance must also be maintained on the vectorial role of Ae. albopictus in countries endemic for dengue and other arboviruses (e.g. Chikungunya, EEE, Ross River, WNV, LaCrosse and other California group viruses), for which it would be competent and ecologically suited to serve as a bridge vector.
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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.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Physiol
                Front Physiol
                Front. Physio.
                Frontiers in Physiology
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                1664-042X
                12 June 2012
                2012
                : 3
                Affiliations
                1simpleGroup of Dirofilariosis, Faculty of Pharmacy, Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca, University of Salamanca Salamanca, Spain
                2simpleInternal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas, Spain
                Author notes

                Edited by: Rubén Bueno-Marí, University of Valencia, Spain

                Reviewed by: Giulio Grandi, Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy; Valladares Hernández, University of La Laguna, Spain; Dario Vezzani, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina

                *Correspondence: Rodrigo Morchón, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Salamanca, c/Licenciado Méndez Nieto s/n, 37007 Salamanca, Spain. e-mail: rmorgar@ 123456usal.es

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Systems Biology, a specialty of Frontiers in Physiology.

                Article
                10.3389/fphys.2012.00196
                3372948
                22701433
                Copyright © 2012 Morchón, Carretón, González-Miguel and Mellado-Hernández.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 180, Pages: 11, Words: 12356
                Categories
                Physiology
                Review Article

                Anatomy & Physiology

                vectors, europe, dogs, dirofilaria immitis, heartworm disease, prevalence, cats

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