Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)

Prevalence and Geographic Distribution of Vector-Borne Pathogens in Apparently Healthy Dogs in Croatia.

PMID 28448211


Vector-borne pathogens (VBPs) are a group of globally extended and quickly spreading pathogens that are transmitted by various arthropod vectors. The aim of the present study was to investigate the seroprevalence against Babesia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Leishmania infantum, Dirofilaria immitis, and Ehrlichia canis in dogs in Croatia. We investigated 435 randomly selected apparently healthy dogs in 13 different locations of Croatia for antibodies to B. canis by indirect immunofluorescence using a commercial IFA IgG Antibody Kit. All samples were also tested for qualitative detection of D. immitis antigen and for antibodies to A. phagocytophilum, B. burgdorferi sensu lato, L. infantum, and E. canis with two point-of-care assays. Overall, 112 dogs (25.74%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 21.70-30.12) were serologically positive for one or more of the pathogens. B. canis was the most prevalent pathogen (20.00%, 95% CI 16.34-24.07), followed by A. phagocytophilum (6.21%, 95% CI 4.12-8.90), L. infantum, (1.38%, 95% CI 0.51-2.97), and B. burgdorferi sensu lato (0.69%, 95% CI 0.01-2.00). The lowest seroprevalence was for D. immitis and E. canis (0.46%, 95% CI 0.01-1.65). Coinfection was determined in 12 dogs (2.76%, 95% CI 1.43-4.77), of which 10 were positive to two pathogens (7 with B. canis and A. phagocytophilum and 1 B. canis with B. burgdorferi sensu lato or L. infantum or E. canis). One dog was positive to three pathogens and another dog to four pathogens. Seroprevalence for babesia was age, breed, and lifestyle/use dependent. Purebred dogs had almost half the chance of developing disease than crossbred (OR = 0.58, p < 0.026, 95% CI 0.37-0.94). Seropositivity to B. canis was 3.41 times higher for dogs that lived outdoors/shelter (p < 0.006) or 4.57 times higher in mixed/hunting (p < 0.001) compared to indoor/companion dogs. This is the first comprehensive survey of VBP seropositivity conducted in Croatia. Some of these VBPs are zoonotic and represent a potential risk to public health.