Special Issue "Parasites of the Third Millennium"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817). This special issue belongs to the section "Parasitic Pathogens".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 40910

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Donato Traversa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University Teaching Veterinary Hospital, Location Piano d'Accio, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: Feline and canine parasitology; intestinal and cardiopulmonary nematodes; vector-borne diseases; anthelmintics; drug resistance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Angela Di Cesare
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: molecular parasitology; zoonotic diseases; cats; evolutionary parasitology; veterinary parasitology
Dr. Simone Morelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: feline and canine parasitology; clinical parasitology; vector borne Diseases; intestinal and cardiopulmonary nematodes; zoonoses
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The XXXI Congress of the Italian Society of Parasitology (SoIPa) will be a virtual conference that will take place on 16–19 June 2021. On 16 and 17 June, there will be a joint event organized under the aegis of the European Society of Dirofilariosis and Angiostrongylosis (ESDA). The joint event ESDA/SoIPa will be entirely in English, and the scientific program of the SoIPa Congress will welcome English contributions and English-speaking speakers and oral talks. For details, please see the websites: https://www.soipa2020.it/it/esda2020 and https://www.soipa2020.it/

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In this exciting context, Pathogens will be launching a Special Issue devoted to “Parasites of the Third Millennium”, which will contain full papers or reviews from selected oral talks which will be given at the above Conferences. Some of these papers will be based on Invited or Keynote talks already scheduled in the Scientific Program. Members of the Scientific Committee will select additional talks among those which will be given at the Conference, and contributions based on these will be published free of charge in the form of research or review papers in this Special Issue of Pathogens:

  1. (a) Two papers in the SoIPa/ESDA Oral Talk Session on Angiostrongylosis and Dirofilariosis
  2. (b) Two papers in the SoIPa Oral Talk Session on Veterinary Parasitology
  3. (c) Two papers in the SoIPa Oral Talk Session on Human Parasitology
  4. (d) Two papers in the SoIPa Oral Talk Session on Human and Veterinary Parasitology
  5. (e) Two paper in the SoIPa Oral Talk Session on Zoonotic Parasitoses

The other contributions, either 1) the talks which are not selected to be published free of charge or 2) the contributions sent as posters, can be submitted to this Special Issue.

At least one of the Authors of the abstract presented for the above session should be registered at the Conference and the speaker giving the oral talk should be under 40. We look forward to receiving your contributions!

Prof. Dr. Donato Traversa
Prof. Angela Di Cesare
Dr. Simone Morelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pathogens is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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Article
Entomological Surveillance in Former Malaria-endemic Areas of Southern Italy
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1521; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111521 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
Malaria still represents a potential public health issue in Italy, and the presence of former Anopheles vectors and cases imported annually merit continuous surveillance. In areas no longer endemic, the concurrent presence of gametocyte carriers and competent vectors makes re-emergence of local transmission [...] Read more.
Malaria still represents a potential public health issue in Italy, and the presence of former Anopheles vectors and cases imported annually merit continuous surveillance. In areas no longer endemic, the concurrent presence of gametocyte carriers and competent vectors makes re-emergence of local transmission possible, as recently reported in Greece. In October 2017, due to the occurrence of four suspected introduced malaria cases in the province of Taranto (Apulia region), entomological investigations were performed to verify the involvement of local anopheline species. In 2019–2020 entomological surveys were extended to other areas historically prone to malaria between the provinces of Taranto and Matera and the province of Foggia (Gargano Promontory). Resting mosquitoes were collected in animal shelters and human dwellings, larvae were sampled in natural and artificial breeding sites, and specimens were both morphologically and molecularly identified. A total of 2228 mosquitoes were collected, 54.3% of which were anophelines. In all the investigated areas, Anopheles labranchiae was the most widespread species, while Anopheles algeriensis was predominant at the Gargano sites, and Anopheles superpictus and Anopheles plumbeus were recorded in the province of Matera. Our findings showed a potentially high receptivity in the surveyed areas, where the abundance of the two former malaria vectors, An. labranchiae and An. superpictus, is related to environmental and climatic parameters and to anthropic activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Identity of Microfilariae Circulating in Dogs from Western and South-Western Romania in the Last Decade
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1400; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111400 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1242
Abstract
Dirofilaria infections in dogs are recognized as widespread mosquito-borne diseases with zoonotic potential, that are caused by the filarioid nematode (Onchocercidae) species Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens. The long-term survey conducted in western and south-western Romania was undertaken in order [...] Read more.
Dirofilaria infections in dogs are recognized as widespread mosquito-borne diseases with zoonotic potential, that are caused by the filarioid nematode (Onchocercidae) species Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens. The long-term survey conducted in western and south-western Romania was undertaken in order to provide valuable data on the occurrence of Dirofilaria infections in dogs. Blood samples from 1088 dogs, originating from 73 localities of 11 western and south-western counties in Romania, were collected and examined using the modified Knott test. Subsequently, all of the microscopically positive samples were subjected to molecular analysis for confirmation. Altogether, the data obtained showed the percentage of dogs with circulating microfilariae to be 21.42% (233/1088) of dogs tested in the investigated region. The identified species, in cases of monoinfections, were D. immitis, D. repens, and Acanthocheilonema reconditum in 106 (9.74%) samples, 102 (9.38%) samples, and 1 (0.09%) sample, respectively. Twenty-four (2.21%) samples were simultaneously positive for D. immitis and D. repens. There was no association (p > 0.05) between infection status and breed; however, sex and lifestyle were positively associated (p < 0.05) with the percentage of dogs with circulating microfilariae and might be regarded as risk factors for infection. The results of the present investigation indicate potential zoonotic risks for humans living in the screened area and support the imperative to increase awareness among both veterinarians and physicians, regarding the continuous spread of these zoonotic filariae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Leishmania Promastigotes Enhance Neutrophil Recruitment through the Production of CXCL8 by Endothelial Cells
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1380; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111380 - 26 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 990
Abstract
Endothelial cells represent one of the first cell types encountered by Leishmania promastigotes when inoculated into the skin of the human hosts by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies. However, little is known on their role in the early recruitment of phagocytic cells [...] Read more.
Endothelial cells represent one of the first cell types encountered by Leishmania promastigotes when inoculated into the skin of the human hosts by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies. However, little is known on their role in the early recruitment of phagocytic cells and in the establishment of the infection. Initially, neutrophils, rapidly recruited to the site of promastigotes deposition, phagocytize Leishmania promastigotes, which elude the killing mechanisms of the host cells, survive, and infect other phagocytic cells. Here, we show that Leishmania promastigotes co-incubated with HMEC-1, a microvascular endothelial cell line, exhibited significant morphological changes and loss of infectivity. Moreover, promastigotes of different Leishmania species stimulated the production of CXCL8 by HMEC-1 in a dose- and TLR4-dependent manner. Interestingly, we observed that the conditioned media from Leishmania-stimulated HMEC-1 cells attracted leukocytes, mostly neutrophils, after 2 h of incubation. After 24 h, a higher percentage of monocytes was detected in conditioned media of unstimulated HMEC-1 cells, whereas neutrophils still predominated in conditioned medium from Leishmania-stimulated cells. The same supernatants did not contain CCL5, a chemokine recruiting T cells and monocytes. On the contrary, inhibition of the production of CCL5 induced by TNF-α was seen. These data indicate that the interaction of Leishmania promastigotes with endothelial cells leads to the production of chemokines and the recruitment of neutrophils, which contribute to the establishment of Leishmania infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Highly Variable Clinical Pictures in Dogs Naturally Infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1372; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111372 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1338
Abstract
Canine angiostrongylosis by Angiostrongylus vasorum is increasingly reported in both enzootic and previously free areas. The complex pathogenesis of the disease makes the clinical workup challenging. Infected dogs show highly variable clinical pictures, characterized by subclinical to life-threatening general, cardio-respiratory, neurological and/or gastrointestinal [...] Read more.
Canine angiostrongylosis by Angiostrongylus vasorum is increasingly reported in both enzootic and previously free areas. The complex pathogenesis of the disease makes the clinical workup challenging. Infected dogs show highly variable clinical pictures, characterized by subclinical to life-threatening general, cardio-respiratory, neurological and/or gastrointestinal signs. The present study reports the high variability of clinical pictures from 36 dogs across central and southern Italy that were naturally infected by A. vasorum. Of them, 23 (63.9%) presented at least one clinical sign, while 13 (36.1%) were subclinically infected and apparently healthy. Overall, 19 dogs (52.8%) showed cardiorespiratory signs, 14 (38.9%) had non-specific abnormalities, 2 (5.6%) presented coagulation disorders and 1 (2.8%) had a severe neurological condition. Importantly, four dogs presenting with clinical signs had neither cough nor dyspnea. These results underline that angiostrongylosis should be included in the differential diagnosis, even when dogs display only non-specific clinical signs. The proportion of apparently healthy dogs highlights the relevance of routine copromicroscopic and/or antigenic tests in enzootic areas to avoid the sudden onset of potentially life-threatening signs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Occurrence of Babesia Species and Co-Infection with Hepatozoon canis in Symptomatic Dogs and in Their Ticks in Eastern Romania
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101339 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
Although the distribution of Babesia spp. and Hepatozoon canis is well known in Romania, there is still a marked lack of information in many places of the country. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of these haemoparasites in symptomatic dogs and in [...] Read more.
Although the distribution of Babesia spp. and Hepatozoon canis is well known in Romania, there is still a marked lack of information in many places of the country. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of these haemoparasites in symptomatic dogs and in their ticks in Iasi, eastern Romania. Ninety owned dogs were subjected to clinical examination at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Iasi and all detectable ticks (58 ticks from 15 dogs) were collected. Additionally, 124 ticks collected from the coat of other dogs (no. = 23) were included. Three Babesia species were found in dogs: Babesia canis (94.4%), Babesia vogeli (3.3%), and Babesia rossi (2.2%). All the dogs resulted negative for H. canis. The ticks were identified as follows: Ixodes ricinus (64%), Dermacentor reticulatus (33%), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus group (3%). B. canis (Minimum Infection Rate; MIR = 81%), B. vogeli (MIR = 3%), and Babesia microti-like piroplasm (MIR = 1%) were found in ticks. Moreover, 15 ticks were positive for H. canis, 6 were co-infected with B. canis, and 1 with B. microti-like piroplasm. This is the first molecular identification of B. rossi in two symptomatic dogs from Romania, although further studies are needed to investigate the vector competence of other ticks from Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
Article
Effects of Local and Systemic Immune Challenges on the Expression of Selected Salivary Genes in the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles coluzzii
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101300 - 09 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
Salivary glands play a crucial tripartite role in mosquito physiology. First, they secrete factors that greatly facilitate both sugar and blood meal acquisition. Second, the transmission of pathogens (parasites, bacteria and viruses) to the vertebrate host requires both the recognition and invasion of [...] Read more.
Salivary glands play a crucial tripartite role in mosquito physiology. First, they secrete factors that greatly facilitate both sugar and blood meal acquisition. Second, the transmission of pathogens (parasites, bacteria and viruses) to the vertebrate host requires both the recognition and invasion of the salivary glands. Third, they produce immune factors that both protect the organ from invading pathogens and are also able to exert their activity in the crop and the midgut when saliva is re-ingested during feeding. Studies on mosquito sialomes have revealed the presence of several female and/or male salivary gland-specific or enriched genes whose function is completely unknown so far. We focused our attention on these orphan genes, and we selected, according to sequence and structural features, a shortlist of 11 candidates with potential antimicrobial properties. Afterwards, using qPCR, we investigated their expression profile at 5 and 24 h after an infectious sugar meal (local challenge) or thoracic microinjection (systemic challenge) of Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, EC) or Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus, SA) bacteria. We observed a general increase in the transcript abundance of our salivary candidates between 5 and 24 h after local challenge. Moreover, transcriptional modulation was determined by the nature of the stimulus, with salivary gland-enriched genes (especially hyp15 upon SA stimulus) upregulated shortly after the local challenge and later after the systemic challenge. Overall, this work provides one of the first contributions to the understanding of the immune role of mosquito salivary glands. Further characterization of salivary candidates whose expression is modulated by immune challenge may help in the identification of possible novel antimicrobial peptides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Cytauxzoon sp. and Hepatozoon spp. in Domestic Cats: A Preliminary Study in North-Eastern Italy
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091214 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
Knowledge on the presence of Cytauxzoon sp. and Hepatozoon spp. in Italy is scant and mostly limited to a few areas of Northern and Southern regions, respectively. The present study updated the current epidemiological scenario by investigating the occurrence of these protozoa in [...] Read more.
Knowledge on the presence of Cytauxzoon sp. and Hepatozoon spp. in Italy is scant and mostly limited to a few areas of Northern and Southern regions, respectively. The present study updated the current epidemiological scenario by investigating the occurrence of these protozoa in domestic cats from three broad regions of North-Eastern Italy. Blood samples from cats at risk of vector-borne diseases were processed by PCR to detect Cytauxzoon and Hepatozoon DNA. Blood smears were observed for haemoparasite inclusions. The influence of cat individual data (e.g., provenance, management, indoor/outdoor lifestyle) on the prevalence of haemoprotozoan infections was statistically evaluated. Among 158 cats, Cytauxzoon and Hepatozoon DNA were detected in 6 (3.8%) and 26 (16.5%) animals, respectively. No Hepatozoon gamonts were detected in blood smears, whereas all Cytauxzoon PCR-positive samples were microscopically positive, though with low levels of parasitaemia. Two species of Hepatozoon were identified, Hepatozoon felis (n = 10) and Hepatozoon silvestris (n = 16). Hepatozoon silvestris prevalence values were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia and in stray cats. Cytauxzoon sp. was detected in 6/39 (15.4%) stray cats from Friuli Venezia Giulia (Trieste province). These data add new information on the occurrence of these neglected protozoa in domestic cats’ populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Simultaneous Exposure to Angiostrongylus vasorum and Vector-Borne Pathogens in Dogs from Italy
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091200 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
Several drivers have recently fostered the expansion of Angiostrongylus vasorum throughout Europe, where Vector-Borne Pathogens (VBPs) are also spreading. However, the level of simultaneous risk of infection is still unknown in canine populations. This study evaluated the simultaneous exposure to A. vasorum and [...] Read more.
Several drivers have recently fostered the expansion of Angiostrongylus vasorum throughout Europe, where Vector-Borne Pathogens (VBPs) are also spreading. However, the level of simultaneous risk of infection is still unknown in canine populations. This study evaluated the simultaneous exposure to A. vasorum and major canine VBPs in dogs of Italy. Sera of 294 dogs were subjected to two ELISAs, detecting A. vasorum circulating antigens and antibodies against the parasite, and to the following assays: (i) SNAP® 4DX (IDEXX Laboratories Inc.) detecting Dirofilaria immitis antigens, and antibodies vs. Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. and (ii) IFAT for the detection of antibodies vs. Leishmania infantum, Babesia canis and Rickettsia conorii. Twenty-two (7.5%, CI: 4.8–11.1%) and six (2%, CI: 0.7–4.4%) dogs scored positive for circulating A. vasorum antibodies and antigens, respectively. Seventeen dogs (5.8%, CI: 3.4–9.1%) were positive for A. vasorum antibodies + at least one VBP, three (1%, CI: 0.2–3%) for A. vasorum antigen + at least one VBP, while one dog (0.3%, CI: 0.01–1.88%) was positive for A. vasorum antigen + A. vasorum antibodies + B. canis antibodies. These results show that dogs living in different regions of Italy are at risk of simultaneous infections with both A. vasorum and VBPs. Despite the same scenario being likely in other countries of Europe, the current knowledge is scant. Therefore, further studies are warranted to amplify current epizootiological information and to understand whether control programs should be improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
Article
In Vitro Evaluation of Acute Toxicity of Five Citrus spp. Essential Oils towards the Parasitic Mite Varroa destructor
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091182 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1959
Abstract
Varroa destructor is the most important ectoparasitic mite of honey bees that has a negative impact on bee health and honey production. The control programs are mainly based on the use of synthetic acaricides that are often administered indiscriminately. All this has led [...] Read more.
Varroa destructor is the most important ectoparasitic mite of honey bees that has a negative impact on bee health and honey production. The control programs are mainly based on the use of synthetic acaricides that are often administered indiscriminately. All this has led to drug resistance that now represent a great concern for honey bee farming. The research for alternative products/methods for mites’ control is now mandatory. The aim of this study was to test whether Citrus spp. essential oils could diminish the growth of the V. destructor mite. In Calabria (southern Italy), plants of the Citrus genus are very common and grow both spontaneously and cultured. The essential oils used in this study were extracted from bergamot (Citrus bergamia), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), lemon (Citrus limon), orange (Citrus sinensis), and mandarin (Citrus reticulata) by hydrodistillation. Every EO was in vitro tested against V. destructor. Each experimental replicate was performed using 35 viable adult female mites (5 for each EO) collected the same day from the same apiary and included negative controls (5 individuals exposed to acetone only) and positive controls (5 individuals exposed to Amitraz diluted in acetone). The essential oils (Eos) were diluted (0.5 mg/mL, 1 mg/mL, and 2 mg/mL) in HPLC grade acetone to obtain the working solution to be tested (50 µL/tube). Mite mortality was manually assessed after 1 h exposure under controlled conditions. The essential oils that showed the best effectiveness at 0.5 mg/mL were bergamot, which neutralized (dead + inactivated) 80% (p ≤ 0.001) of the parasites; grapefruit, which neutralized 70% (p ≤ 0.001); and lemon, which neutralized 69% of them. Interestingly, the positive control (Amitraz) at the same concentration neutralized 60% of the parasites. These results demonstrate that Calabrian bergamot, grapefruit, and lemon Eos consistently reduced V. destructor viability and open the possibility for their utilization to control this parasite in honey bee farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Occurrence and Identification of Ixodes ricinus Borne Pathogens in Northeastern Italy
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091181 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus is the main vector for tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), the most common tick species in Italy, particularly represented in pre-alpine and hilly northern areas. From 2011 to 2017, ticks were collected by dragging in Belluno province (northeast Italy) and analyzed [...] Read more.
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus is the main vector for tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), the most common tick species in Italy, particularly represented in pre-alpine and hilly northern areas. From 2011 to 2017, ticks were collected by dragging in Belluno province (northeast Italy) and analyzed by molecular techniques for TBP detection. Several species of Rickettsia spp. and Borrelia spp. Anaplaspa phagocitophilum, Neoerlichia mikurensis and Babesia venatorum, were found to be circulating in the study area carried by I. ricinus (n = 2668, all stages). Overall, 39.1% of screened pools were positive for at least one TBP, with a prevalence of 12.25% and 29.2% in immature stages and adults, respectively. Pathogens were detected in 85% of the monitored municipalities, moreover the presence of TBPs varied from one to seven different pathogens in the same year. The annual TBPs prevalence fluctuations observed in each municipality highlights the necessity of performing continuous tick surveillance. In conclusion, the observation of TBPs in ticks remains an efficient strategy for monitoring the circulation of tick-borne diseases (TBDs) in a specific area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Mapping the Spatial Distribution of the Rumen Fluke Calicophoron daubneyi in a Mediterranean Area
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091122 - 02 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Rumen flukes (Calicophoron daubneyi) represent a growing threat to the animal health, productivity and welfare of ruminants. The present study aimed to assess the spatial distribution of C. daubneyi infections in ruminants and to develop a predictive model of the environmental [...] Read more.
Rumen flukes (Calicophoron daubneyi) represent a growing threat to the animal health, productivity and welfare of ruminants. The present study aimed to assess the spatial distribution of C. daubneyi infections in ruminants and to develop a predictive model of the environmental suitability for rumen flukes in a Mediterranean area. A cross-sectional coprological survey was conducted in 682 sheep, 73 goat and 307 cattle farms located in the Basilicata region (southern Italy). Faecal samples collected were analysed using the FLOTAC technique. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and statistical models were developed to determine environmental risk factors and to delimitate the areas at highest risk of infections in small ruminants. The results showed 7.9% (95% CI 6.05–10.27) of sheep farms, 2.7% (95% CI 0.48–10.44) of goat farms and 55.0% (95% CI 49.62–60.99) of cattle farms were infected by C. daubneyi. The areas with high predicted risk were situated in the western part of the region. The soil texture, land use and the presence of streams and brooks were the variables statistically significant (p < 0.05) in explaining the C. daubneyi distribution in the study area. The study confirms the importance of geospatial technology in supporting parasite control strategies in livestock and demonstrates that a combined use of different geostatistical techniques can improve the prediction of the C. daubneyi infection risk in ruminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
Summer Sores Secondary to a Hoof Crack in an Andalusian Stallion
Pathogens 2021, 10(8), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10081038 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1312
Abstract
Cutaneous habronemosis in horses is caused by larvae of the spirurid nematodes Habronema microstoma and Habronema muscae. These lesions, also known as “summer sores’’, are often severe and disfiguring. Although Habronema-caused lesions at the coronary grooves have been described, cases of [...] Read more.
Cutaneous habronemosis in horses is caused by larvae of the spirurid nematodes Habronema microstoma and Habronema muscae. These lesions, also known as “summer sores’’, are often severe and disfiguring. Although Habronema-caused lesions at the coronary grooves have been described, cases of hoof cracks with secondary summer sores have never been reported. The present case describes clinic-pathological and surgical features of a quarter crack case complicated by cutaneous habronemosis at the dermal layers. A 15-year-old, Andalusian stallion was referred to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the University of Teramo because of a mass of the hoof and a severe lameness. The clinical examination revealed an exuberant granulation tissue protruding from a full thickness vertical quarter crack. The mass was surgically removed, and subjected to histopathological, microbiological, and parasitological analyses. A copromicroscopic examination was also performed. The feces scored PCR positive for H. muscae, while the skin for both H. microstoma and H. muscae, thus confirming the primary role of Habronema in causing the hoof mass. This is the first description of a hoof wall crack complicated by summer sores, with simultaneous gastric habronemosis. This case confirms that a prompt diagnosis during fly activity is imperative for an efficacious treatment and a timely prevention of disfiguring summer sores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Article
The Influence of Temperature on the Larval Development of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus in the Land Snail Cornu aspersum
Pathogens 2021, 10(8), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10080960 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
The metastrongyloid Aelurostrongylus abstrusus has an indirect lifecycle involving gastropod intermediate hosts. The widespread snail Cornu aspersum is an efficient intermediate host of A. abstrusus. As the temperature may influence the developmental rate of metastrongyloids from first (L1) to the [...] Read more.
The metastrongyloid Aelurostrongylus abstrusus has an indirect lifecycle involving gastropod intermediate hosts. The widespread snail Cornu aspersum is an efficient intermediate host of A. abstrusus. As the temperature may influence the developmental rate of metastrongyloids from first (L1) to the third infective larval stage (L3) inside molluscs, this study evaluated the effect of two controlled temperatures on the development of A. abstrusus in C. aspersum. Overall, 300 snails were infected with 500 L1 of A. abstrusus and kept at ∼25 °C. Fifteen days post infection (D15), the overall developmental rate to L3 (0.8%) was assessed in a subset of 20 snails. The remaining gastropods were divided in 2 groups, i.e., 180 still kept at ∼25 °C (G1) and 100 hibernated at ∼4 °C (G2). On D30, the larval development was evaluated in 20 snails from each group, while another batch of 80 snails was selected random from G1 and hibernated at ∼4 °C (G3). The larval developmental rate was determined digesting 20 snails from each of the three groups on D45, D60, and D75. The higher mean developmental rate was registered in G1 (3.8%) compared to G2 (1.9%) and G3 (2.3%), indicating that the development to L3 of A. abstrusus in C. aspersum is positively influenced by the increase of temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Review

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Review
Clinical Parasitology and Parasitome Maps as Old and New Tools to Improve Clinical Microbiomics
Pathogens 2021, 10(12), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10121550 - 28 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
A growing body of evidence shows that dysbiotic gut microbiota may correlate with a wide range of disorders; hence, the clinical use of microbiota maps and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can be exploited in the clinic of some infectious diseases. Through direct or [...] Read more.
A growing body of evidence shows that dysbiotic gut microbiota may correlate with a wide range of disorders; hence, the clinical use of microbiota maps and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can be exploited in the clinic of some infectious diseases. Through direct or indirect ecological and functional competition, FMT may stimulate decolonization of pathogens or opportunistic pathogens, modulating immune response and colonic inflammation, and restoring intestinal homeostasis, which reduces host damage. Herein, we discuss how diagnostic parasitology may contribute to designing clinical metagenomic pipelines and FMT programs, especially in pediatric subjects. The consequences of more specialized diagnostics in the context of gut microbiota communities may improve the clinical parasitology and extend its applications to the prevention and treatment of several communicable and even noncommunicable disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Review
Concern for Dirofilaria immitis and Macrocyclic Lactone Loss of Efficacy: Current Situation in the USA and Europe, and Future Scenarios
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1323; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101323 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1731
Abstract
Dirofilaria immitis infection is one of the most severe parasitic diseases in dogs. Prevention is achieved by the administration of drugs containing macrocyclic lactones (MLs). These products are very safe and highly effective, targeting the third and fourth larval stages (L3, L4) of [...] Read more.
Dirofilaria immitis infection is one of the most severe parasitic diseases in dogs. Prevention is achieved by the administration of drugs containing macrocyclic lactones (MLs). These products are very safe and highly effective, targeting the third and fourth larval stages (L3, L4) of the parasite. Until 2011, claims of the ineffectiveness of MLs, reported as “loss of efficacy” (LOE), were generally attributed to owners’ non-compliance, or other reasons associated with inadequate preventative coverage. There was solid argumentation that a resistance problem is not likely to occur because of (i) the great extent of refugia, (ii) the complexity of resistance development to MLs, and (iii) the possible large number of genes involved in resistance selection. Nevertheless, today, it is unequivocally proven that ML-resistant D. immitis strains exist, at least in the Lower Mississippi region, USA. Accordingly, tools have been developed to evaluate and confirm the susceptibility status of D. immitis strains. A simple, in-clinic, microfilariae suppression test, 14-28 days after ML administration, and a “decision tree” (algorithm), including compliance and preventatives’ purchase history, and testing gaps, may be applied for assessing any resistant nature of the parasite. On the molecular level, specific SNPs may be used as markers of ML resistance, offering a basis for the validation of clinically suspected resistant strains. In Europe, no LOE/resistance claims have been reported so far, and the existing conditions (stray dogs, rich wildlife, majority of owned dogs not on preventive ML treatment) do not favor selection pressure on the parasites. Considering the genetic basis of resistance and the epizootiological characteristics of D. immitis, ML resistance neither establishes easily nor spreads quickly, a fact confirmed by the current known dispersion of the problem, which is limited. Nevertheless, ML resistance may propagate from an initial geographical point, via animal and vector mobility, to other regions, while it can also emerge as an independent evolutionary process in a new area. For these reasons, and considering the current chemoprophylaxis recommendations and increasing use of ML endectoparasiticides as a potential selection pressure, it is important to remain vigilant for the timely detection of any ML LOE/resistance, in all continents where D. immitis is enzootic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Review
Dirofilaria spp. and Angiostrongylus vasorum: Current Risk of Spreading in Central and Northern Europe
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101268 - 01 Oct 2021
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 4030
Abstract
In the past few decades, the relevance of Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens, causing cardiopulmonary and subcutaneous dirofilariosis in dogs and cats, and of Angiostrongylus vasorum, causing canine angiostrongylosis, has steadily increased in Central and Northern Europe. In this review, a [...] Read more.
In the past few decades, the relevance of Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens, causing cardiopulmonary and subcutaneous dirofilariosis in dogs and cats, and of Angiostrongylus vasorum, causing canine angiostrongylosis, has steadily increased in Central and Northern Europe. In this review, a summary of published articles and additional reports dealing with imported or autochthonous cases of these parasites is provided for Central (Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland) and Northern (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) Europe. Research efforts focusing on Dirofilaria spp. and A. vasorum have varied by country, and cross-border studies are few. The housing conditions of dogs, pet movements, the spread of competent vectors, and climate change are important factors in the spread of these nematodes. Dogs kept outside overnight are a major factor for the establishment of Dirofilaria spp. However, the establishment of invasive, diurnal, synanthropic, competent mosquito vectors such as Aedes albopictus may also influence the establishment of Dirofilaria spp. The drivers of the spread of A. vasorum remain not fully understood, but it seems to be influenced by habitats shared with wild canids, dog relocation, and possibly climatic changes; its pattern of spreading appears to be similar in different countries. Both Dirofilaria spp. and A. vasorum merit further monitoring and research focus in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Review
Angiostrongylosis in Animals and Humans in Europe
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1236; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101236 - 25 Sep 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2204
Abstract
Lungworms in the genus Angiostrongylus cause disease in animals and humans. The spread of Angiostrongylus vasorum within Europe and the recent establishment of Angiostrongylus cantonensis increase the relevance of these species to veterinary and medical practitioners, and to researchers in parasitology, epidemiology, veterinary [...] Read more.
Lungworms in the genus Angiostrongylus cause disease in animals and humans. The spread of Angiostrongylus vasorum within Europe and the recent establishment of Angiostrongylus cantonensis increase the relevance of these species to veterinary and medical practitioners, and to researchers in parasitology, epidemiology, veterinary science and ecology. This review introduces the key members of the genus present in Europe and their impacts on health, and updates the current epidemiological situation. Expansion of A. vasorum from localized pockets to wide distribution across the continent has been confirmed by a rising prevalence in foxes and increasing reports of infection and disease in dogs, while the list of carnivore and mustelid definitive hosts continues to grow. The tropically distributed rat lungworm A. cantonensis, meanwhile, has been recorded on islands south of Europe, previously the Canary Islands, and now also the Balearic Islands, although so far with limited evidence of zoonotic disease. Other members of the genus, namely, A. chabaudi, A. daskalovi and A. dujardini, are native to Europe and mainly infect wildlife, with unknown consequences for populations, although spill-over can occur into domestic animals and those in zoological collections. The epidemiology of angiostrongylosis is complex, and further research is needed on parasite maintenance in sylvatic hosts, and on the roles of ecology, behaviour and genetics in disease emergence. Improved surveillance in animals and humans is also required to support risk assessments and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Review
Quantitative Monitoring of Selected Groups of Parasites in Domestic Ruminants: A Comparative Review
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091173 - 11 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Parasites have had a significant impact on domestic ruminant health and production for a long time, but the emerging threat of drug resistance urgently requires an improved approach to parasite monitoring and control activities. The study reviewed the international literature to analyze the [...] Read more.
Parasites have had a significant impact on domestic ruminant health and production for a long time, but the emerging threat of drug resistance urgently requires an improved approach to parasite monitoring and control activities. The study reviewed the international literature to analyze the different proposals for the sampling approach and the quantitative estimation of parasite burdens in groups of animals. Moreover, the use of thresholds to decide when and which animal to treat was also investigated. The findings of the study highlighted the presence of a wide-ranging literature on quantitative monitoring for gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), while more limited data were found for coccidia, and no specific indications were reported for tapeworms. Concerning liver flukes, bronchopulmonary nematodes (BPN) and permanent ectoparasites (lice and mange mites), the diagnostic process is usually aimed at the detection of the parasite rather than at the burden estimation. The main research gaps that need further investigation were also highlighted. For some groups of parasites (e.g., GIN and coccidia) the quantitative approach requires an improved standardization, while its usefulness needs to be confirmed for others (e.g., BPN and lice). The development of practical guidelines for monitoring is also encouraged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Other

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Concept Paper
Parasitology and One Health—Perspectives on Africa and Beyond
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111437 - 05 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3147
Abstract
This concept paper reviews issues pertaining to parasitic and vector-borne infections, of humans, animals, or both, of topical relevance to the African continent as well as to neighbouring and interconnected geographies. This analysis is carried out through the “One Health” lens, being mindful [...] Read more.
This concept paper reviews issues pertaining to parasitic and vector-borne infections, of humans, animals, or both, of topical relevance to the African continent as well as to neighbouring and interconnected geographies. This analysis is carried out through the “One Health” lens, being mindful of the central role of agriculture and livestock keeping in Africa’s sustainable development. The possible agricultural transformation that the continent may undergo to fulfil the rising demand for animal protein of its growing population, coupled with the ongoing climate changes, may lead to potentially enhanced interactions among humans, domesticated and wild animals, in a fast-changing environment. In this view, tackling parasitic conditions of livestock can prove being multidimensionally beneficial by improving animal health as well as communities’ food security, livelihood and public health. Accordingly, the value of applying the One Health approach to drug discovery and development in the fight against parasitic neglected tropical diseases and zoonoses, is also underscored. Overall, this article upholds the adoption of a holistic, global, interdisciplinary, multisectoral, harmonised and forward-looking outlook, encompassing both life and social sciences, when dealing with parasitic conditions of humans and animals, in Africa and beyond, in COVID-19 times and further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Brief Report
Detection of Toxocara cati Larvae from Ostrich and Wild Boar Meat Intended for Human Consumption
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1290; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101290 - 07 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1947
Abstract
Toxocara cati is a common roundworm of cats and wild felids and, together with T. canis, it is the main causative agent of human toxocariasis. Humans may become infected by ingestion of embryonated eggs via contaminated soil, food, or water, or by [...] Read more.
Toxocara cati is a common roundworm of cats and wild felids and, together with T. canis, it is the main causative agent of human toxocariasis. Humans may become infected by ingestion of embryonated eggs via contaminated soil, food, or water, or by ingestion of raw or undercooked meat of paratenic hosts that are infected by Toxocara larvae. In this study, we report the detection of T. cati larvae from meat samples of ostriches and wild boars. These samples were inspected by enzymatic digestion, as part of the trichinellosis surveillance. As ostrich meat is intended for “carpaccio” preparation, a traditional Italian raw meat preparation, there is the need to make the consumption of this meat safe. For this purpose, it is recommended to freeze the meat before preparation. Our findings confirmed that T. cati larvae can contaminate muscle tissues of paratenic hosts, increasing the risk of infection due to the consumption of raw or undercooked meat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Case Report
Potential Role of Hepatozoon canis in a Fatal Systemic Disease in a Puppy
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091193 - 14 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1764
Abstract
Canine hepatozoonosis caused by Hepatozoon canis is an emerging disease in Europe. Clinical pictures vary from subclinical to life-threatening and non-specific clinical signs are predominantly reported. A 2-month-old female puppy originating from Southern Italy was adopted and moved to Northern Italy. Then, [...] Read more.
Canine hepatozoonosis caused by Hepatozoon canis is an emerging disease in Europe. Clinical pictures vary from subclinical to life-threatening and non-specific clinical signs are predominantly reported. A 2-month-old female puppy originating from Southern Italy was adopted and moved to Northern Italy. Then, the dog was brought to a local veterinary practice for gastrointestinal signs, migrating lameness and pruritic dermatitis, and then tested positive for Hepatozoon spp. gamonts at the blood smear. After treatment with imidocarb dipropionate and doxycycline, the dog showed an initial clinical improvement. However, gastrointestinal signs recurred, and diffuse superficial pyoderma appeared on the thoracolumbar region, along with fever, lethargy, and weight loss. Eight months from the first onset of clinical signs, the dog was referred to a veterinary clinic and subjected to complete blood count, urine and fecal analysis, along with abdominal ultrasonography, whole-body CT and gastroduodenal endoscopy. Skin biopsies and blood samples were subjected to a PCR-coupled sequencing protocol, which scored both positive for H. canis. Alterations were consistent with a pre-existing cholangiohepatitis and multiple acquired extrahepatic shunts secondary to portal hypertension. The dog was euthanatized due to a clinical worsening two months later. The potential role of H. canis in the systemic disease observed, clinic-pathological findings and epizootiological implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Case Report
First Autochthonous Infection of a Cat with Dirofilaria immitis in Austria
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091104 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
This case report is about a seven-year-old male neutered European Shorthair cat infected by Dirofilaria immitis as the first reported autochthonous Dirofilaria immitis infection in Austria. There was no history of periods abroad. Echocardiography showed suspected D. immitis in the right cardiac chamber [...] Read more.
This case report is about a seven-year-old male neutered European Shorthair cat infected by Dirofilaria immitis as the first reported autochthonous Dirofilaria immitis infection in Austria. There was no history of periods abroad. Echocardiography showed suspected D. immitis in the right cardiac chamber with increased pulmonary pressure and ascites. Surgical removal of the heartworms was performed. Twenty adult heartworms were removed by transvenous jugular approach under general anesthesia and stored in 4% formalin. Five out of 20 specimens were examined via light and stereomicroscopy and feline heartworm infection was confirmed. Amplification of a 203 bp or 724 bp fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene was unsuccessful. After surgery the cat developed acute renal failure but recovered quickly. One year later, the cat underwent a control examination including echocardiography and blood work. There were no more D. immitis detectable at echocardiography. Lung pressure was mildly increased. Complete blood count and creatinine were unremarkable. The Knott’s test and Dirofilaria-Antigen-test produced negative results. The cat did not show any clinical signs during the follow-up period. The aim of this case report is to highlight the growing risk of acquiring infection with D. immitis not only for Austrian dogs, but also for cats. This case report represents the first report of autochthonous D. immitis infection in Austria. Moreover, even if the prognosis in cats with caval syndrome due to feline heartworm disease is guarded to poor, surgical removal of the filariae can be a successful treatment option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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Case Report
Aspergillus Section Fumigati Pneumonia and Oxalate Nephrosis in a Foal
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091087 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1358
Abstract
Equine pulmonary aspergillosis is a rare deep mycosis often due to the hematogenous spread of hyphae after gastrointestinal tract disease. We describe herein the main clinic-pathological findings observed in a foal, which spontaneously died after showing diarrhea and respiratory distress. Necropsy and histopathological [...] Read more.
Equine pulmonary aspergillosis is a rare deep mycosis often due to the hematogenous spread of hyphae after gastrointestinal tract disease. We describe herein the main clinic-pathological findings observed in a foal, which spontaneously died after showing diarrhea and respiratory distress. Necropsy and histopathological investigations allowed to diagnose pulmonary aspergillosis, which likely developed after necrotic typhlitis-colitis. Biomolecular studies identified Aspergillus section Fumigati strain as the causative agent. Notably, severe oxalate nephrosis was concurrently observed. Occasionally, oxalate nephropathy can be a sequela of pulmonary aspergillosis in humans. The present case report suggests that the renal precipitation of oxalates can occur also in horses affected by pulmonary aspergillosis and could likely contribute to the fatal outcome of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites of the Third Millennium)
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