Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secret cargo of mosquitoes: Dirofilaria repens detected for time in Austria

Date:
May 27, 2014
Source:
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Summary:
Until a short while ago, infections with the parasite Dirofilaria repens was regarded as a classical traveler's disease. Mosquitoes from abroad passed the parasite on to dogs, in some cases even to humans. The most recent research data have shown, for the first time that the parasite has been imported to Austria and established here. In mosquitoes from the state of Burgenland, the scientists found larvae of the parasite. The infected mosquitoes possibly migrated to Austria through Eastern and Southern Europe.

The scientists use special mosquito traps to collect the insects.
Credit: Carina Zittra / Vetmeduni Vienna

Until a short while ago, infections with the parasite Dirofilaria repens was regarded as a classical traveler's disease in Austria. Mosquitoes from abroad passed the parasite on to dogs, in some cases even to humans. The most recent research data from the Vetmeduni Vienna have shown, for the first time that the parasite has been imported to Austria and established here. In mosquitoes from the state of Burgenland, the scientists found larvae of the parasite. The infected mosquitoes possibly migrated to Austria through Eastern and Southern Europe. The results of this research were published in the journal Parasites & Vectors.

The parasite Dirofilaria repens is a roundworm that primarily attacks the subcutaneous tissue of dogs and causes lumps in the skin, swelling, and itching. Dogs, cats, foxes, wolves and martens can be infected in addition to dogs. "In humans, 16 cases of human dirofilariosis have been recorded since the year 2000, but the dark figure is definitely higher," says the lead author Katja Silbermayr. Humans, however, are so-called dead end hosts; the parasite does not reproduce in humans and therefore poses no major risk.

Silbermayr is a veterinarian and performs research on parasitic skin diseases. She emphasizes, "So-called cutaneous dirofilariosis is quite unknown among veterinarians in our latitudes. Therefore, through our work we wish to create greater awareness among medical experts. Lumps in the skin need not necessarily be tumors; they may be a sign of dirofilariosis. Only appropriate treatment or prevention can restrain the spread of this parasite."

Austrian-wide screening discloses dirofilaria in the state of Burgenland

Experts at the Institute of Parasitology investigated about 8,000 mosquitoes from the whole of Austria in 2012. They found Dirofilaria repens in two towns: Mörbisch and Rust at the lake Neusiedl. There were two different types of mosquitoes that carried Dirofilaria repens: Anopheles maculipennis and Anopheles algeriensis. "Basically these parasites are not choosy in selecting their vector or carrier, i.e. the mosquito. Throughout the world Dirofilaria repens is found in the most diverse types of mosquitoes. We may well be able to demonstrate these parasites in other types of mosquitoes," says Silbermayr.

The reason for immigration: traveling and adoption

The cause of immigration, according to Silbermayr, is that dog owners travel with their pets, especially to southern countries. The adoption of pets from abroad also spreads parasites into Austria. Global warming is, according to Silbermayr, no crucial factor in the spread of Dirofilaria repens.

The scientists believe that Dirofilaria repens will spread further in Austria. The parasite is already quite rampant in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. "It's merely a question of time until it spreads further in Austria."

A related parasite not yet discovered in Austria

Dirofilaria immitis, also known as the heartworm, is a related but much more dangerous parasite. It is transmitted exactly like Dirofilaria repens by mosquitoes to dogs, and settles in the lungs and the heart. At these sites the heartworm, which is about 20-30 cm long, leads to heart failure, dyspnea, and general deterioration. This parasite has not yet been found in mosquitoes in Austria.

"To prevent insect bites we have preparations with a prophylactic effect, which are either applied as a spot-on to the animals' skin, or provided in tablet form. Once the parasite is in the animal, the treatment is usually laborious and long-drawn. Depending on the severity of the affliction, it may be associated with complications," explains Silbermayr.

The life cycle of Dirofilaria repens

The infectious larvae of the parasite are transferred to dogs by a mosquito bite. In the skin the larvae mate and form so-called new microfilaria, which then reach the dog's bloodstream. Mosquitoes in Austria absorb the parasite when feeding on the dog's blood and are then able to infect further animals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katja Silbermayr, Barbara Eigner, Anja Joachim, Georg G Duscher, Bernhard Seidel, Franz Allerberger, Alexander Indra, Peter Hufnagl, Hans-Peter Fuehrer. Autochthonous Dirofilaria repens in Austria. Parasites & Vectors, 2014; 7 (1): 226 DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-7-226

Cite This Page:

Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "Secret cargo of mosquitoes: Dirofilaria repens detected for time in Austria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527085455.htm>.
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. (2014, May 27). Secret cargo of mosquitoes: Dirofilaria repens detected for time in Austria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527085455.htm
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "Secret cargo of mosquitoes: Dirofilaria repens detected for time in Austria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527085455.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins