Parasitology

Research Article

Role of dog behaviour and environmental fecal contamination in transmission of Echinococcus multilocularis in Tibetan communities

A. VANISCOTTEa1a8 c1, F. RAOULa1, M. L. POULLEa2a3, T. ROMIGa4, A. DINKELa4, K. TAKAHASHIa5, M. H. GUISLAINa3, J. MOSSa6, L. TIAOYINGa7, Q. WANGa7, J. QIUa7, P. S. CRAIGa6 and P. GIRAUDOUXa1

a1 Department of Chrono-environment, UMR UFC/CNRS 6249 aff. INRA, University of Franche-Comté, 25030 Besançon cedex, France

a2 Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, EA 3800, University of Reims Champagne-Ardennes (URCA), IFR 53, 51 rue Cognacq, 51096 Reims, France

a3 URCA-CERFE, 5 rue de la Héronniere, 08240 Boult-aux-Bois, France

a4 Department of Parasitology, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany

a5 Hokkaido Institute of Public Health, Kita 19, Nishi 12, 060-0819 Sapporo, Japan

a6 Cestode Zoonoses Research Group, Division of Biological Sciences, School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, The Crescent, Salford M5 4WT, UK

a7 Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Sichuan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China

a8 Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, University of Tromsø, Norway-9037

SUMMARY

On the Eastern Tibetan Plateau region (Sichuan province, China) dogs are regarded as important definitive hosts of Echinococcus multilocularis. We studied dog spatial behaviour in 4 Tibetan villages in order to determine the role of dogs in environmental contamination and their potential interactions with small mammal intermediate hosts. We identified definitive host species and Echinococcus spp. infection status of feces collected in the field by PCR methods and analysed the spatial distribution of canid feces. Nocturnal space utilization of GPS collared dogs in and around villages was also undertaken. E. multilocularis DNA was amplified in 23% of dog feces (n=142) and in 15% of fox feces (n=13) but this difference was not significant. However, dog feces were more frequently observed (78% of collected feces) than fox feces and are therefore assumed to largely contribute to human environment contamination. Feces were mainly distributed around houses of dog owners (0–200 m) where collared dogs spent the majority of their time. Inside villages, the contamination was aggregated in some micro-foci where groups of dogs defecated preferentially. Finally, small mammal densities increased from the dog core areas to grasslands at the periphery of villages occasionally used by dogs; male dogs moving significantly farther than females. This study constitutes a first attempt to quantify in a spatially explicit way the role of dogs in E. multilocularis peri-domestic cycles and to identify behavioural parameters required to model E. multilocularis transmission in this region.

(Received January 31 2011)

(Revised April 29 2011)

(Accepted April 29 2011)

(Online publication August 22 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, University of Tromsø, Norway-9037. Tel: 0047 77 64 44 21. E-mail: amelie.vaniscotte@uit.no

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