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Diagnostic challenges for Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infection in cats from endemic areas in Italy


Vismarra, Alice; Schnyder, Manuela; Strube, Christina; Kramer, Laura; Colombo, Liliana; Genchi, Marco (2023). Diagnostic challenges for Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infection in cats from endemic areas in Italy. Parasites & Vectors, 16(1):187.

Abstract

Background: The lungworm Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infects wild and domestic feline species worldwide and is considered a primary respiratory parasite of cats. Definitive diagnosis is based on the identification of first-stage larvae (L1s) released in faeces approximately 5 to 6 weeks after infection. More recently, serology has been shown to be a diagnostic alternative for A. abstrusus infection in cats. The present study aimed at evaluating the diagnostic performance of serological antibody detection compared to faecal examination for A. abstrusus infection in a population of cats with known infection status from endemic areas in Italy and to identify factors (larval scores, age, co-infections with other helminths) that may influence test sensitivity and specificity of serology.
Methods: All cats resulting positive using the Baermann technique (n = 78) were tested with the A. abstrusus ELISA. An additional 90 serum samples from cats living in three geographical areas with infection prevalence > 10%, but that resulted negative on Baermann, were also tested.
Results: Among 78 cats copromicroscopically positive for L1s of A. abstrusus (Group 1), 29 (37.2%) were seropositive in ELISA. Of the 90 cats from Group 2 (cats living in three geographical areas in Italy with A. abstrusus prevalence > than 10%, but negative on Baermann examination), 11 (12.2%) were positive on ELISA. The overall seroprevalence was 23.8%. There was no statistical difference either between average optical density (OD) values of cats excreting > 100 L1s vs. cats excreting < 100 L1s (0.84 vs. 0.66; P value = 0.3247) or comparing the OD values with age of infected cats. Few Baermann-negative cats positive for Toxocara cati or hookworms were seropositive, supporting lack of cross-reactivity to these nematodes.
Conclusions: Results from the present study suggest that relying solely on faecal examination may underestimate prevalence of A. abstrusus infection in cats and that field surveys based on antibody detection are useful for establishing true prevalence of infected and/or exposed animals.
Graphical Abstract

Abstract

Background: The lungworm Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infects wild and domestic feline species worldwide and is considered a primary respiratory parasite of cats. Definitive diagnosis is based on the identification of first-stage larvae (L1s) released in faeces approximately 5 to 6 weeks after infection. More recently, serology has been shown to be a diagnostic alternative for A. abstrusus infection in cats. The present study aimed at evaluating the diagnostic performance of serological antibody detection compared to faecal examination for A. abstrusus infection in a population of cats with known infection status from endemic areas in Italy and to identify factors (larval scores, age, co-infections with other helminths) that may influence test sensitivity and specificity of serology.
Methods: All cats resulting positive using the Baermann technique (n = 78) were tested with the A. abstrusus ELISA. An additional 90 serum samples from cats living in three geographical areas with infection prevalence > 10%, but that resulted negative on Baermann, were also tested.
Results: Among 78 cats copromicroscopically positive for L1s of A. abstrusus (Group 1), 29 (37.2%) were seropositive in ELISA. Of the 90 cats from Group 2 (cats living in three geographical areas in Italy with A. abstrusus prevalence > than 10%, but negative on Baermann examination), 11 (12.2%) were positive on ELISA. The overall seroprevalence was 23.8%. There was no statistical difference either between average optical density (OD) values of cats excreting > 100 L1s vs. cats excreting < 100 L1s (0.84 vs. 0.66; P value = 0.3247) or comparing the OD values with age of infected cats. Few Baermann-negative cats positive for Toxocara cati or hookworms were seropositive, supporting lack of cross-reactivity to these nematodes.
Conclusions: Results from the present study suggest that relying solely on faecal examination may underestimate prevalence of A. abstrusus infection in cats and that field surveys based on antibody detection are useful for establishing true prevalence of infected and/or exposed animals.
Graphical Abstract

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Parasitology
Health Sciences > General Veterinary
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Uncontrolled Keywords:Infectious Diseases, Parasitology
Language:English
Date:6 June 2023
Deposited On:27 Jun 2023 15:32
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1756-3305
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-023-05808-y
PubMed ID:37280698
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)