Dirofilariosis in Slovakia - a new endemic area in Central Europe

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The first systematic research on canine dirofilariosis in Slovakia started in February 2007. In total 287 dogs of various age, sex, breeds, and utilization from southern Slovakia were examined within the study until September 2007. Microfilariaemia was detected in 99 (34.5 %) blood samples. Histochemical staining and PCR approach were used for Dirofilaria species identification. Dirofilaria repens was confirmed in all infected dogs; it occurred in 92 (32.1 %) dogs as a single infection and in 6 (2.1 %) dogs in mixed infection with Dirofilaria immitis. For the first time both species were detected in Eastern Slovakia. Outdoor keeping and age higher 3 years become evident as important risk factors. Male individuals and dogs with long hair were significantly more frequently infected when compared with females and short hair breeds.

The present study revealed the occurrence of highly endemic area of dirofilariosis in Slovakia and certified that climatic conditions in the country are favourable for development of the parasite and for further spread of this zoonotic infection.

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