Small rodents — permanent reservoirs of toxocarosis in different habitats of Slovakia

K. Reiterová 1 , D. Antolová 1 , G. Zaleśny 3 , M. Stanko, S. Špilovská 1 , and L. Mošanský 1
  • 1 Institute of Parasitology of the Slovak Academy of Science, Košice, Hlinkova 3, 040 01, Košice, Slovak Republic
  • 2 Institute of Zoology of the Slovak Academy of Science, Košice, Löfflerova 10, 040 01, Košice, Slovak Republic
  • 3 Department of Invertebrate Systematics and Ecology, Institute of Biology, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kozuchowska 5b, Wroclaw, Poland


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.

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