Authors:Heli Talvik, Epp Moks, Erika Mägi, T. Järvis and Illa Miller
The aim of the study was to elucidate the distribution and possible transmission routes of Toxocara spp. infection in Estonia. Out of 454 faecal and sand samples collected from park lawns and sandpits in the town of Tartu, 19 were Toxocara positive (4.2%). Out of the 45 sandpit samples 17.8% were Toxocara positive. Cat faeces was found in 21 sandpit samples. Parasitological necropsies were performed on 41 euthanised stray dogs and 27 cats in the Tallinn Dog Home. Additionally, 13 wild free-roaming brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) were captured from the Tallinn Dog Home territory, necropsied and studied for the presence of Toxocara larvae. Toxocara canis adults were found in 14.6% of the dogs and Toxocara cati (syn. mystax) adults in the small intestines of 48.2% of the cats examined. Larval infection was detected in the kidney and liver in 5 dogs (12.2%). Our study demonstrated only low-level larval Toxocara infections in adult dogs. Toxocara larvae were not found in cats and brown rats. According to the results of this study, cats more often carry Toxocara infection than dogs. Under our conditions, stray and free-roaming cats are the main contaminators of the environment with Toxocara eggs. Children playing in sandpits are the main risk group for larval toxocarosis.