a1 Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Profilassi e Igiene degli Alimenti, Pisa University, Viale delle Piagge 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy
a2 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy; INFN Sezione di Pisa, Italy
This study was conducted in order to investigate the epidemiology of filarial species in a region of central Italy (Tuscany) in dogs that did not undergo prophylaxis for filariasis. From 2007 to 2009, 630 blood samples were collected from 40 kennels throughout the regional territory. Samples were analysed with Knott's modified test and with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of Dirofilaria immitis antigens, those positive for microfilariae were also subjected to histochemical staining for acid phosphatase activity to validate the identification of the species. An overall elevated prevalence of filariasis (23.2%) was found. Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens were found to be the dominant species, with similar prevalences (12.5% and 12.1% respectively), while Acanthocheilonema reconditum was less common (1.9%). Results of this study indicate that monitoring for filariasis should be kept at a high level. A constant monitoring of the canine sanitary status should also be carried out for the protection of human health, considering the zoonotic potential of filarial worms.
(Received September 17 2010)
(Accepted March 01 2011)
(Online publication April 04 2011)