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Persichetti M.-F.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia Adelmo Mirri | Solano-Gallego L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Serrano L.,Vetgenomics | Altet L.,Vetgenomics | And 3 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2016

Background: Vector-borne pathogens are the subject of several investigations due to the zoonotic concern of some of them. However, limited data are available about the simultaneous presence of these pathogens in cats and their ectoparasites. The aim of the present study was to define the species of ectoparasites found on cats as well as to investigate vector-borne pathogens in cats and their ectoparasites in southern Italy. Methods: Blood from 42 cats and fleas or flea pools (n = 28) and ticks (n = 73) collected from them were investigated by quantitative PCR for the detection of vector-borne pathogens. Feline serum samples were tested by IFAT to detect IgG antibodies against Leishmania infantum, Bartonella henselae, Rickettsia conorii, Rickettsia felis, Rickettsia typhi, Babesia microti, Ehrlichia canis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum antigens. Results: Only one flea species (Ctenocephalides felis) and four tick species belonging to the genera Rhipicephalus and Ixodes were identified on cats from southern Italy. Molecular evidence of Bartonella spp., Rickettsia spp., hemoplasmas, Babesia vogeli and L. infantum was found in ectoparasites (fleas and/or ticks) while DNA from Hepatozoon felis and Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. was not detected. Likewise, DNAs from Bartonella, hemoplasma and Leishmania were the only pathogens amplified from feline blood samples. Cats had also antibodies against all the investigated pathogens with the exception of Rickettsia typhi. Agreement between serological and molecular results in individual cats and their ectoparasites was not found. The only exception was for Bartonella with a fair to moderate agreement between individual cats and their ectoparasites. Bartonella clarridgeiae was the species most frequently found in cats and their fleas followed by B. henselae. Conclusions: In conclusion, cats harboring ticks and fleas are frequently exposed to vector-borne pathogens. Furthermore, ticks and fleas harbored by cats frequently carry pathogens of zoonotic concern therefore appropriate feline ectoparasiticide preventative treatments should be used in cats. © 2016 Persichetti et al. Source

Pennisi M.-G.,Messina University | Persichetti M.-F.,Messina University | Serrano L.,Vetgenomics | Altet L.,Vetgenomics | And 3 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2015

Background: Limited information is available about the species of ticks infesting the cat and the pathogens that they harbor. The aims of the present study were to identify the species of ticks removed from cats living in Sicily and Calabria (Italy) and to detect DNA of vector-borne pathogens in the same ticks. Findings: Morphological identification of 132 adult ticks collected throughout the year from cats was carried out. Real-time PCRs for Hepatozoon felis, Piroplasmid, Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp., Rickettsia spp., Bartonella spp., Mycoplasma spp. and Leishmania infantum were performed from each individual tick. Ticks belonging to Rhipicephalus (R. sanguineus sensu lato, R. pusillus) and Ixodes (I. ricinus, I. ventalloi) genera were identified. Ixodes ventalloi was the most frequently found tick species (47 %). The positivity rate to at least one pathogen was 14.4 % (19/132 ticks). Leishmania infantum, Rickettsia spp. (R. monacensis and R. helvetica), Bartonella spp. (B. clarridgeiae), Piroplasmid (Babesia vogeli), and Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. (E. canis) DNAs were amplified in 8.3, 5.3, 1.5, 0.75 and 0.75 % of ticks, respectively. Hepatozoon felis, Anaplasma spp. and hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. DNAs were not detected. Four (21.1 %) out of nineteen positive ticks were co-infected. Conclusions: This study provides novel data about ticks infesting cats and the DNA of pathogens that they harbor. In Southern Italy, anti-tick prophylaxis should be implemented throughout the year in cats without neglecting winter time. © 2015 Pennisi et al. Source

Millan J.,Andres Bello University | Proboste T.,Major University | Fernandez de Mera I.G.,Health and Biotechnology SaBio | Chirife A.D.,El Mirador del Rosario P5 | And 3 more authors.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases | Year: 2016

Urbanization of natural areas is considered one of the causes of the current apparent emergence of infectious diseases. Carnivores are among the species that adapt well to urban and periurban environments, facilitating cross-species disease transmission with domestic dogs and cats, and potentially with their owners. The prevalence of vector-borne pathogens (VBP) of zoonotic and veterinary interest was studied in sympatric wild and domestic carnivores into Barcelona Metropolitan Area (NE Spain). Blood or spleen samples from 130 animals, including 34 common genets (Genetta genetta), 12 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 10 stone martens (Martes foina), three Eurasian badgers (Meles meles), 34 free-roaming domestic cats and 37 dogs with outdoor access, were collected either in protected or adjacent residential areas. A total of 309 ticks (chiefly Rhipicephalus turanicus) were collected on these animals. The samples were analyzed with a battery of PCR assays targeting the DNA of Rickettsia spp., Anaplasmataceae, Coxiella burnetii, Bartonella spp., and Piroplasmida, and the amplicons were sequenced. The fox showed the highest prevalence (58%) and diversity of VBP (four pathogens), whereas none of the dogs were infected. Bartonella spp. (including B. clarridgeiae, B. henselae, and B. rochalimae) was the most prevalent pathogen. Infection of wild carnivores with Ehrlichia canis, C. burnetii, Theileria annae and Babesia vogeli was also confirmed, with some cases of coinfection observed. The presence of DNA of T. annae and B. vogeli was also confirmed in tick pools from four species of wild carnivores, supporting their role in piroplasmid life-cycle. By the sequencing of several target genes, DNA of Rickettsia massiliae was confirmed in 17 pools of Rh. turanicus, Rh. sanguineous, and Rh. pusillus from five different species, and Rickettsia conorii in one pool of Rh. sanguineous from a dog. None of the hosts from which these ticks were collected was infected by Rickettsia. Although carnivores may not be reservoir hosts for zoonotic Rickettsia, they can have an important role as mechanical dispersers of infected ticks. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. Source

Millan J.,Andres Bello University | Chirife A.D.,El Mirador del Rosario P5 | Altet L.,Vetgenomics
Veterinary Quarterly | Year: 2015

Background: The role of wildlife in the epidemiology of leishmaniosis in under debate, and determining whether infection with Leishmania infantum causes illness in wild carnivores is important to determine its potential role as a reservoir. Objectives: To provide for the first time serum biochemistry reference values for the common genet (Genetta genetta), and to determine variations associated with L. infantum infection. Methods: Twenty-five serum biochemistry parameters were determined in 22 wild-caught genets. Blood samples were analyzed for L. infantum DNA by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: Two female genets were positive for L. infantum DNA but did not show any external clinical sign upon physical examination. Among other variations in the biochemistry values of these genets, one presented a higher concentration of gamma-globulins and cholesterol, whereas the other genet presented increased creatinine, bilirubin, and chloride levels when compared to uninfected females. Sex-related differences in some parameters were also reported. Conclusion: Infection with L. infantum may sometimes be accompanied by abnormal serum biochemistry in wild carnivores. Clinical importance: Clinical disease may occur in L. infantum-infected wild carnivores. This has implications in the epidemiology of leishmaniosis. In addition, the data provided here would also be useful as reference values for researchers or rehabilitators working with the common genet. © 2015, © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

Solano-Gallego L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Di Filippo L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ordeix L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Planellas M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 4 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2016

Background: Leishmania infantum-specific antibodies are used extensively for the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment in canine leishmaniosis. Different views have been described for the measurement of L. infantum antibody levels for the monitoring of anti-leishmanial treatment. In addition, molecular techniques using blood are frequently employed in the clinical setting. However, there are not enough studies to prove the usefulness of PCR in diagnosis, treatment monitoring and in assessing the prognosis of the disease. The objectives of this study were to evaluate L. infantum-specific antibodies and blood parasitemia at the time of diagnosis and during treatment and to correlate these with the dog's clinical status. Methods: Thirty-seven dogs were diagnosed and followed-up during treatment (days 30, 180 and 365). The treatment protocol consisted of a combination of meglumine antimoniate for one month and allopurinol for at least one year. Leishmania infantum-specific antibodies and blood parasitemia were assessed by an end point sera dilution ELISA and by real-time PCR, respectively. Results: The majority of dogs were classified as LeishVet stage II (moderate disease) at the time of diagnosis (86 %) and the rest as stage III. Results showed variable levels of specific antibodies at the time of diagnosis [median ± interquartile range (IQR): 1372 ± 8803 ELISA units (EU)]. Twenty-three seropositive dogs (64 %) were detected as PCR-positive at the time of diagnosis. Interestingly, a rapid significant antibody level reduction was observed by day 30 of treatment (median ± IQR: 604 ± 2168 EU). A continuing significant decrease of specific antibodies was also found at days 180 (median ± IQR: 201 ± 676 EU) and 365 (median ± IQR: 133 ± 329 EU) in association with clinical improvement. A significant blood parasitemia reduction was also observed at all time points studied. Mean parasites/ml ± SD were 19.4 ± 79.1 on day 0, 2.2 ± 11.7 on day 30, 0.9 ± 2.9 on day 180, and 0.3 ± 0.7 on day 365. Conclusions: This study reports a significant reduction of L. infantum antibodies measured by an end point sera dilution ELISA method after 30 days of treatment associated with clinical improvement. A low proportion of sick dogs with moderate disease were negative by blood real-time PCR at the time of diagnosis. © 2016 Solano-Gallego et al. Source

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