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Echinococcus multilocularis in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) of the Italian Alpine region: is there a focus of autochthonous transmission?


Casulli, A; Manfredi, M T; La Rosa, G; Di Cerbo, A R; Dinkel, A; Romig, T; Deplazes, P; Genchi, C; Pozio, E (2005). Echinococcus multilocularis in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) of the Italian Alpine region: is there a focus of autochthonous transmission? International Journal for Parasitology, 35(10):1079-1083.

Abstract

Alveolar echinococcosis, caused by the metacestode of Echinococcus multilocularis, is a zoonosis with a wider distribution area than described in the past. Fox populations living in the Alpine regions of Italy had been considered free from this parasite until 2002, when two infected foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were detected in the Bolzano province (Trentino Alto Adige region) near the Austrian border. The aim of this work was to evaluate the prevalence of infection in red fox populations from five Italian regions. A modified nested PCR analysis was used to detect E. multilocularis DNA in faecal samples. Amplicons were confirmed by sequencing. Of 500 faecal samples from foxes shot in Valle d'Aosta (n=57), Liguria (n=44), Lombardy (n=102), Veneto (n=56), and Trentino Alto Adige (n=241) regions, 24 animals, all from the Trentino Alto Adige region, were found positive. Twenty-two positive animals originated from the Bolzano province and two positive animals from the Trento province. Several localities of the Bolzano province, in which positive foxes were detected, are the same as those where alveolar echinococcosis had been described in humans in the second half of the 19th century, suggesting an old endemicity for the investigated area, which is adjacent to endemic areas of Austria. Therefore, the question arises if we are observing an increase and expansion of foci, or if the new records are due to the more sensitive and specific methods used to detect the worm DNA.

Alveolar echinococcosis, caused by the metacestode of Echinococcus multilocularis, is a zoonosis with a wider distribution area than described in the past. Fox populations living in the Alpine regions of Italy had been considered free from this parasite until 2002, when two infected foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were detected in the Bolzano province (Trentino Alto Adige region) near the Austrian border. The aim of this work was to evaluate the prevalence of infection in red fox populations from five Italian regions. A modified nested PCR analysis was used to detect E. multilocularis DNA in faecal samples. Amplicons were confirmed by sequencing. Of 500 faecal samples from foxes shot in Valle d'Aosta (n=57), Liguria (n=44), Lombardy (n=102), Veneto (n=56), and Trentino Alto Adige (n=241) regions, 24 animals, all from the Trentino Alto Adige region, were found positive. Twenty-two positive animals originated from the Bolzano province and two positive animals from the Trento province. Several localities of the Bolzano province, in which positive foxes were detected, are the same as those where alveolar echinococcosis had been described in humans in the second half of the 19th century, suggesting an old endemicity for the investigated area, which is adjacent to endemic areas of Austria. Therefore, the question arises if we are observing an increase and expansion of foci, or if the new records are due to the more sensitive and specific methods used to detect the worm DNA.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Language:English
Date:April 2005
Deposited On:03 Jun 2009 06:23
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:14
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0020-7519
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2005.04.005
PubMed ID:15998516
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-18699

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