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Geographical distribution of Angiostrongylus vasorum in foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the Republic of Ireland

  • G. MCCARTHY (a1), M. FERRAND (a2), T. DE WAAL (a3), A. ZINTL (a3), G. MCGRATH (a4), W. BYRNE (a5) and E. J. O'NEILL (a1)...

Summary

The reported incidence of the metastrongylid nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum, that infects dogs and other canids, is increasing worldwide outside recognized endemic foci. This apparent expansion of the parasite's range is causing concern to veterinary clinicians as the disease caused in dogs can be life threatening and its treatment is not straightforward. The red fox is thought to be a reservoir host for dogs. To investigate the spatial distribution of infection in foxes in Ireland, the hearts and lungs of 542 foxes from all over Ireland were examined. The incidence of infection was found to be 39·9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 35·7–44·1] with positive samples occurring in each of the country's 26 counties. This report confirms that the parasite is endemic in Ireland and the overall prevalence is the second highest in Europe. This is the first survey of A. vasorum infection in Irish foxes and highlights the potential exposure of the Irish dog population to high risk of cross-infection. Additionally, Crenosoma vulpis was found in seven of the foxes, a parasite not previously reported in the Irish fox.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Veterinary Clinical Sciences Section, School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland. E-mail: grainne.mccarthy@ucd.ie

References

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Parasitology
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