Parasitic infection during pregnancy can affect the course of pregnancy, complicate the foeto-maternal relationship and increase abortion rate. The work was aimed to study the course of E. multilocularis secondary infection and reproductive parameters in infected mice. The Balb/c mice were bred in the exponential phase of the metacestode growth, after infection with two different doses (0.5 ml or 1.25 ml) of metacestode material. In comparison to uninfected control group, the effect of infection on reproductive parameters (natality, size of litters) and the course of disease during pregnancy and after the delivery were monitored. The weight of E. multilocularis larval stages was higher in both fertilised groups in comparison to unfertilised control. The number of deliveries and litter counts were similar in both, infected and uninfected mice. Present study confirmed only minor impact of alveolar echinococcosis on the reproduction of rodents, intermediate hosts of parasite.
Human echinococcosis, one of the most serious of parasitic zoonoses, is caused by the larval stages of taeniid cestodes of the genus Echinococcus. The study aimed to assess the reliability of the detection of specific antibodies to E. multilocularis and E. granulosus s.l. in human sera and to compare their diagnostic potential for their utilization in the practice. In the study, the somatic antigen of E. multilocularis (AgEm), antigen B (AgB), and the hydatid fluid antigen of E. granulosus and two commercial ELISA kits – Echinococcus granulosus (Bordier Affinity Products, Crissier, Switzerland) and NovaLisaTMEchinococcus IgG (NovaTec Immunodiagnostica, Germany) – were compared. Sera of patients with alveolar and cystic echinococcosis, and with different parasitic/other infections were used to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity and cross-reactivity of in-house and commercial ELISA methods. AgEm presented the highest values regarding the diagnostic indicators, showing 100 % specificity and 90.0 % sensitivity. The tests for serological diagnostics of cystic echinococcosis were less sensitive and specific. The Echinococcus granulosus kit had 83.8 % specificity and 88.2 % sensitivity, while AgB and AgHF showed 85.0 % and 86.3 % specificity, and 76.5 % and 100 % sensitivity, respectively. NovaLisaTMEchinococcus IgG proved to have 95.7 % specificity and 77.8 % sensitivity. The results point out that the combination of different serological tests and approaches in accordance with clinical and imaging findings is still essential to prove the correct diagnosis in suspected patients.
Parasitic infection during pregnancy represents a serious stress factor and affects the course of pregnancy and the foeto-maternal relationship. The infection may not clinically manifest itself, however it can modulate the immune response of the offspring for a long-time. The influence of secondary Echinococcus multilocularis infection on the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and the level of anti-Echinococcus antibodies were studied in Balb/c mice. The female mice were infected with homogenised metacestode material containing 2000 E. multilocularis protoscoleces (Group 1, 2). Group 1 was fertilised on day 60 post infection, while Group 2 remained unfertilised. Group 3 was uninfected and fertilised on the same day as Group 1. The numbers of both T cell subpopulations were higher in non-pregnant than in pregnant mice. In late pregnancy, the decline of CD4+, however, the increase of CD8+ T-cell subtypes were observed in both, infected and uninfected mothers, respectively. The strong humoral response with the high production of IgM and IgG2b antibodies in infected mice was detected. In infected mothers, IgG2b level was higher than in infected nonpregnant mice during almost whole monitored period. In Group 1, delivery caused suppression of Th2 immune response, represented by IgG1, under the level observed in uninfected mothers. The findings show the changes in helper regulatory and cytotoxic immunity mechanisms of infected mothers. In offspring of infected mothers all IgG subclasses were detected, however specific IgM were not transmitted neither transplacentary, nor transmammary.
The mouse bile duct tapeworm Hymenolepis microstoma, is a potentially zoonotic species with a wide variety of reported definitive hosts of rodent genera. In the present study the occurrence of H. microstoma in free-living small mammals in selected areas of Slovakia and the retrospective analysis of epidemiological data published in Slovakia were performed. Hymenolepis microstoma was detected in two animal species, the common shrew (Sorex araneus) and the European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) of 186 small mammals examined from two ecosystems, urban and natural ecosystem of national park. No mention about the presence of this parasite in Slovakia in the past was found following a bibliographical search. Partial sequences of the nuclear paramyosin gene showed the shrew isolate placed in a subclade together with H. microstoma from Portugal, with high bootstrap value for its differentiation from the sister species Hymenolepis nana. Similarly, the analysis of the nuclear ribosomal ITS region placed the hamster isolate in the cluster composed of H. microstoma from Australia, Spain and Portugal. The Slovak isolate was the most distinctive sample among available H. microstoma, differing in 1.4 – 1.9% of nucleotides from the remaining isolates. The difference (seven of 17 nucleotide positions) was partially due to indel polymorphisms associated with two and five nucleotides. To our knowledge, these are the first reports of H. microstoma in Central Europe and also the first record of infection in the common shrew. A recently indicated zoonotic potential of H. microstoma along with a possibility of its direct transmission between animals and/or humans without the need of intermediate hosts pose a public health concern in contaminated areas of Slovakia. The use of molecular techniques may substantially facilitate more thorough understanding of the epidemiological situation of H. microstoma and related tapeworms in various ecosystems of the country.
Pyogenic liver abscess is an uncommon but important and potentially life-threatening disease that occurs whenever there is failure of clearance of an infection in the liver. Work presents a rare case of pyogenic liver abscess with confirmed bacterial aetiology of Staphylococcus aureus, subsequently confirmed Echinococcus multilocularis and suspected Mycobacterium tuberculosis liver infection in 6 years old child. Moreover, several other parasitic diseases were recorded. According to clinical presentation of diseases, it could be supposed that liver impairment caused by alveolar echinococcosis and potentially also by M. tuberculosis could be the predisposition site for the capture of Staphylococcus aureus in altered liver tissues during its haematogenous spreading, and thus contributed to the development and subsequent clinical presentation of pyogenic liver abscess. The presence of three different aetiological agents complicated the diagnostic process as well as the therapy of the patient and made her prognosis uncertain. Proper diagnosis of multiloculated liver abscesses, with echinococcosis and hepatic tuberculosis considered in the differential diagnosis, is therefore crucial to administration of early and appropriate treatment.
Wild boars (Sus scrofa) can play a significant role in circulation and maintenance of certain parasites in the environment. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of trichinellosis, toxocarosis and ascariosis in wild boars hunted in the Slovak Republic in 2003 and 2004. Anti-Trichinella antibodies were detected in 1.3 % out of 1035 wild boars investigated. No significant differences were observed regarding the positivity of wild boars according to age and sex in both years. The examination of 1173 wild boars for anti-Toxocara antibodies revealed 7.2 % seropositive individuals. Anti-Ascaris antibodies were detected in 6.1 % out of 411 animals examined. Both, anti-Trichinella and anti-Toxocara antibodies were determined in 0.6 % cases. Presence of anti-Trichinella and anti-Ascaris antibodies was recorded in 0.8 % animals. Concurrent infection caused with Toxocara and Ascaris was observed in 1.5 % individuals. This study concentrates on the role of wild boars in circulation and on the maintenance of trichinellosis, toxocarosis and ascariosis in the Slovak Republic.
Dogs serve as the vectors of serious parasitic diseases with a zoonotic character. In a one-year-study, we collected and examined 752 faeces of dogs. In these faecal samples, 11 different species of intestinal endoparasites were detected, as follows: Toxocara spp. eggs (21.9 %), eggs from the family Ancylostomatidae (18.4 %), coccidia oocysts (10.4 %), eggs of Trichuris spp. (10.0 %), Toxascaris leonina (7.3 %), Capillaria spp. (5.9 %), Taenia type eggs (3.2 %) and Giardia spp. cysts (1.6 %). Echinococcus multilocularis was detected in one sample. Toxocara spp. eggs were dominant in all dog categories, but in hunting dogs they occurred at the highest rate (45.1 %). Faecal samples of dogs from rural ecosystems showed 66.0 % prevalence of intestinal helminths. Presence of Toxocara spp. eggs was found in 25.0 % of sand samples.
The study aimed to estimate the role of small rodents in the circulation of larval toxocarosis in light of their different habitats. From 2005 to 2008, a total of 1523 small rodents, belonging to 11 species, were captured in 5 different habitats of Slovakia. Anti-Toxocara antibodies were detected in 6.6 % animals. The dominant reservoirs of toxocarosis were striped-field mouse Apodemus agrarius (11.7 %) and mound-building mouse Mus spicilegus (10.7 %), while the seropositivity of voles was low. Sexually active adults were infected more frequently (10.8%) in comparison with inactive ones (5.2 %). According to habitats, seroprevalence of toxocarosis in windbreaks (2.4 %) was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than in agrocoenoses (6.7 %), alluvia (8.5 %) and ecotones (7.5 %). Log-linear analysis performed in A. agrarius indicates that type of habitat and sexual activity affect the seropositivity to Toxocara infection. The highest seroprevalence was observed in alluvium (21.2 %) while the lowest in windbreak (1.8 %) (χ2 = 17.232, p < 0.001) and sexually active mice were characterised by 22.5 % and sexually inactive by 6.4 % seroprevalence (χ2 = 30.634, p < 0.001). The occurrence pattern of toxocarosis in small rodents suggests that they are permanent reservoirs for Toxocara spp. in nature and significant indicators of Toxocara egg contamination in environs.
Due to specific geographical localization, climatic and geomorphologic conditions, several serious parasitic diseases circulate in the territory of the Slovak Republic that makes this area an ideal model territory of the central European red fox system. The red fox is an important reservoir host of parasites, which can be spread to another animals and humans. Our study was aimed at determining the current prevalence of certain parasites in red foxes from the entire territory of the Slovak Republic and identifies some ecological factors influencing their epidemiology. Within the first systematic investigation of red foxes carried out between the years 2000 and 2006 in total 4026 foxes were examined for Echinococcus multilocularis (prevalence 31.1 %) and 4699 foxes were investigated for the presence of Trichinella spp. larvae (10.4 % infected). The results of the next separate study revealed that 83.3 % of 1198 red foxes in the Slovak Republic had coccidian oocysts and helminth eggs in their faeces. Fifteen helminth species including two trematode, four cestode and nine nematode species were detected by coprological examination. Nine of these parasite taxa have zoonotic potential: Capillaria spp. (prevalence 22.4 %), Ancylostoma caninum (18.1 %), Toxocara canis (12.5 %), Taenia spp. (12.2 %), Mesocestoides spp. (5.8 %), Strongyloides stercoralis (1.6 %), Hymenolepis diminuta (0.6 %), Dipylidium caninum (0.4 %) and Opisthorchis felineus (0.3 %). Toxascaris leonina was the most common helminth species found in this survey (42.9 %).
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) presents major wildlife reservoir of parasitozoonoses, transmissible to humans and domestic animals. The study was aimed to find out the effect of anthelmintic baits on the occurrence of Echinococcus multilocularis and other intestinal helminths in red foxes. In two bait areas (B1 and B2) 20 baits per km2 were distributed monthly between August 2004 and April 2005. Fox fecal samples were collected in both bait areas and two control areas (C1 and C2) between August 2004 and August 2005. In bait area B1 the decrease of parasite species number, decrease of their prevalence and prevalence of E. multilocularis was observed. No significant decline was observed in bait area B2, probably due to consumption of baits by wild boars. Bait distribution represents the possibility of reduction of environmental contamination with parasites and their propagation stages. Especially on the periphery of towns and villages and in recreational areas it seems to be suitable way of human health protection.