To identify areas of risk for canine-related zoonoses in Serbia, the aim of this study was to provide baseline knowledge about intestinal parasites in 151 dogs (65 household pets, 75 stray and 11 military working dogs) from Belgrade. The following parasites, with their respective prevalences, were detected:
(14.6%), Ancylostomatidae (24.5%),
-type helminths (6.6%). Of all examined dogs, 75.5% (114/151) were found to harbour at least one parasite species. Of these, mixed infections with up to four species per dog occurred in 44.7% (51/114). Infections with all detected species were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in military working (100%) and stray dogs (93.3%) versus household pets (50.8%). Among all parasites, agents with zoonotic potential including
, Ancylostomatidae and
were detected in 58.3% (88/151) of all examined dogs with a significant difference (p < 0.05) among the subgroups (100%, 62.7% and 46.2% for military working dogs, stray dogs and household pets, respectively). The high prevalence of zoonotic parasites registered in the dog population from a highly urban area in south-eastern Europe indicates a potential risk to human health. Thus, veterinarians should play an important role in helping to prevent or minimise zoonotic transmission.
Human trichinellosis and Trichinella infection in pigs are both still endemic in the Balkans, including Serbia. Because of the flow between the sylvatic and the domestic cycle of Trichinella spp., monitoring wildlife has been recommended for the risk assessment of Trichinella spp. infection in swine. We have previously shown the presence of Trichinella infection in wild carnivores including the wolf and the golden jackal, and here we report on Trichinella infection in several other mesocarnivore species. From a total of 469 animals collected between 1994 and 2013, Trichinella larvae were detected in 29 (6.2%, 95% CI = 4.0–8.4) animals, including 14 red foxes (4.7%), 7 wild cats (35%), 5 beech martens (4.8%), 2 pine martens (16.7%), and 1 European badger (6.25%). No Trichinella larvae were detected in the examined specimens of European polecats, steppe polecats and European otters. Species identification of the Trichinella larvae performed for 18 positive samples revealed T. spiralis in 77.8% and T. britovi in 22.2% of the isolates. Both species were detected in red foxes and wild cats. The predominance of T. spiralis in wildlife in Serbia indicates the (past or present) spillover of this pathogen from domestic to wild animals.
Consumption of undercooked or raw pork is considered a significant risk factor for human infection with Toxoplasma gondii. In this study, we investigated the genetic structure of 18 T. gondii strains obtained from slaughter pigs from Northern Serbia (mainly Vojvodina). The examined samples originated from eight pigs from large commercial farms, six backyard pigs and four free-range Mangalica pigs, all found to be positive for either viable T. gondii or T. gondii DNA. Genotyping was attempted from both pig tissues and mouse brains from the bio-assays using a multiplex multilocus nested polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (Mn-PCR-RFLP) method with seven markers (GRA6, alt. SAG2, PK-1, BTUB, C22-8, CS3 and Apico). Identification was achieved for nine T. gondii isolates. Seven isolates were classified as type II and two as type III. These results are consistent with previous studies on animal isolates from Serbia as well as with previous reports that type III is more frequently found in samples from Southern Europe than in those from other parts of the continent.
Travel to the tropics is associated with a risk of parasitic infection, which is increasing in parallel with the rise in travel to these areas. We thus examined the prevalence and trend in the occurrence of parasitic infections in Serbian travelers.
A retrospective analysis of the medical records of all travelers returning from tropical and subtropical areas, who presented at the Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Belgrade between January 2001 and January 2008, was performed.
Of a total of 2440 travelers, 169 (6.9%) were diagnosed with a parasitic infection, including malaria in 79, intestinal parasites in 84 (pathogenic species in 30 and non-pathogenic in 54), filariasis in four, and visceral leishmaniasis and fascioliasis in one patient each. Importantly, of the whole series only 583 (23.9%) were symptomatic, of which 19.4% were found to be infected with a parasite. The single pathogenic parasite occurring in asymptomatic patients was Giardia intestinalis.
Parasitic infection causing symptomatic disease among travelers returning from tropical areas to Serbia is not infrequent. In view of the expected increase in travel to the tropics, diagnostic protocols for tropical parasitic diseases should take these data into account.