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Small mammals: paratenic hosts for species of Toxocara in eastern Slovakia

  • D. Antolová (a1), K. Reiterová (a1), M. Stanko (a1) (a2), G. Zalesny (a3), J. Fričová (a1) and E. Dvorožňáková (a1)...


Toxocara spp., an aetiological agent of a serious helminthozoonosis, is a common roundworm of domestic and wild carnivores worldwide. The study aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of Toxocara in small mammals from different localities in eastern Slovakia. Anti-Toxocara antibodies were detected in 6.4% out of 2140 examined animals trapped in eastern Slovakia. Due to their high density and observed high seroprevalence of toxocariasis, Apodemus agrarius, A. flavicollis, Myodes glareolus and Mus spicilegus (10.9, 4.2, 3.6 and 11.2%, respectively) represent important sources of the infection. A significant correlation between type of food and Toxocara positivity was detected: granivores (7.2%) and invertebratophages (7.1%) were positive more frequently than herbivores (2.1%). In the years monitored, cyclic changes of seroprevalence were observed. A higher prevalence of antibodies in the spring was followed by a decrease in summer. In autumn, seroprevalence started to rise and stayed at a similar level through the winter. Seroprevalence of the examined animals confirms their contact with Toxocara spp. and demonstrates the presence of the aetiological agent in the monitored locality. Areas with a high prevalence of infected animals present constant infectious pressure on definitive hosts, thus also increasing infection risk for humans and paratenic hosts. The study confirmed the contact of small mammals with Toxocara spp. and demonstrated the presence and circulation of an aetiological agent in the localities monitored in eastern Slovakia.


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