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Role of small mammals in the epidemiology of toxocariasis

  • P. Dubinský (a1), K. Havasiová-Reiterová (a1), B. Peťko (a1), I. Hovorka (a1) and O. Tomašovičová (a1)...

Summary

Studies were conducted on the role of small mammals in maintaining toxocariasis foci in urban, rural and montane biotopes. The lowest relative density of small mammals was recorded in the urban locality and the highest in the rural and montane localities. Anti-Toxocara antibodies were most frequently detected in synanthropic and hemisynanthropic species Mus musculus, Apodemus agrarius and Micromys minutus – 32·0, 30·4 and 25·0%, respectively. The highest seropositivity was found in small mammals from the urban and rural localities – 22·2 and 21·6%, respectively. Toxocara canis was most prevalent in urban stray dogs (75·0%) and least prevalent in foxes from the montane locality (7·0%). The prevalence of Toxocara cati in cats at the urban, rural and montane localities was 66·2, 65·2 and 76·9%, respectively. In clinically healthy human populations, the highest seroprevalence was detected in the rural locality (14·0%). Children of the same area were 3 times more seropositive (12·9%) than those from the urban and montane localities (4·3 and 4·0%). Our studies suggest an important role for small mammals as paratenic hosts – reservoirs of Toxocara larvae – in maintaining toxocariasis foci. In this respect toxocariasis may be classified as an anthropopurgic focal zoonosis.

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