Introduction: Foxes are a reservoir of parasites that are dangerous to humans. The aim of the study was to determine the parameters associated with the occurrence of tapeworms in red foxes in north-western Poland.
Material and Methods: Parasitological sections were taken from 620 red foxes using IST and SCT methods in 18 districts of West Pomerania Province.
Results: The extensity of fox infection with tapeworms was 61%. Echinococcus multilocularis, Mesocestoides spp., Dipylidium caninum, and specimens of the genus Taenia were identified. E. multilocularis was found in 11 districts. Mesocestoides spp. demonstrated the highest prevalence (41.3%), while E. multilocularis demonstrated the lowest prevalence (2.9%); however, it infected foxes with the greatest mean intensity (235.6 tapeworms per fox). The most common co-occurrence in a single host organism was observed for Mesocestoides spp. and tapeworms of the genus Taenia; however, no examples were found of coinfection by E. multilocularis and D. caninum.
Conclusion: The occurrence of tapeworms in foxes was high in West Pomerania Province and was often higher than observed in previous years. For this reason, the risk of parasite transmission to humans and domestic animals is mounting. The risk of infection is also amplifying due to the growth of the fox population.