Canine Infections with Onchocerca lupi Nematodes, United States, 2011-2014.
ABSTRACT: Infections with Onchocerca lupi nematodes are diagnosed sporadically in the United States. We report 8 cases of canine onchocercosis in Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida. Identification of 1 cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene haplotype identical to 1 of 5 from Europe suggests recent introduction of this nematode into the United States.
Project description:Onchocerca lupi, a filarioid of zoonotic concern, infects dogs and cats causing ocular lesions of different degrees, from minor to severe. However, infected animals do not always display overt clinical signs, rendering the diagnosis of the infection obscure to the majority of veterinarians. Canine onchocercosis has been reported in the Old World and the information on its occurrence in the United States, as well as its pathogenesis and clinical management is still meagre. This study reports on the largest case series of O. lupi infection from the United States and reviews previous cases of canine onchocercosis in this country.Information on the clinical history of a series of eight cases of O. lupi infection in dogs diagnosed in Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida, from 2011 to 2014, was obtained from clinical records provided the veterinary practitioners. Nematodes were morphologically identified at species level and genetically analyzed.All dogs displayed a similar clinical presentation, including subconjunctival and episcleral nodules, which were surgically removed. Each dog was subjected to post-operative therapy. Whitish filaria-like parasites were morphologically and molecularly identified as O. lupi.This study confirms that O. lupi is endemic in the United States, indicating that the distribution of the infection is probably wider than previously thought. With effect, further studies are urgently needed in order to improve the diagnosis and to assess the efficacy of therapeutic protocols, targeting the parasite itself and/or its endosymbionts.
Project description:In the past decades, cases of canine ocular onchocercosis have been reported worldwide, particularly in the United States and Europe. Onchocerca lupi, originally described from a wolf, has been implicated in some of these cases, and its zoonotic role has been hypothesized on the basis of the reexamination of two cases of human ocular onchocerciasis. In the present study, we describe, for the first time, the occurrence of O. lupi in the subconjunctival region of the human eye in a patient from Turkey. The nematode was identified as O. lupi based on its morphology and molecular phylogenetic analysis of partial cox1 and 12S ribosomal DNA genes. The results suggest that O. lupi should be considered in the differential diagnosis of other eye parasitic infections in humans. The role of dogs as natural hosts of O. lupi and the vectors of this zoonotic parasite need to be investigated.
Project description:The Onchocerca lupi nematode is an emerging helminth capable of infecting pets and humans. We detected this parasite in 2 dogs that were imported into Canada from the southwestern United States, a region to which this nematode is endemic. We discuss risk for establishment of O. lupi in Canada.
Project description:The genus Onchocerca encompasses parasitic nematodes including Onchocerca volvulus, causative agent of river blindness in humans, and the zoonotic Onchocerca lupi infecting dogs and cats. In dogs, O. lupi adult worms cause ocular lesions of various degrees while humans may bear the brunt of zoonotic onchocercosis with patients requiring neurosurgical intervention because of central nervous system localization of nematodes. Though the zoonotic potential of O. lupi has been well recognized from human cases in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, a proper therapy for curing this parasitic infection in dogs is lacking. To evaluate the efficacy of oxfendazole, 11 out of the 21 client-owned dogs (21/123; 17.1%) positive for skin-dwelling O. lupi microfilariae (mfs), were enrolled in the efficacy study and were treated with oxfendazole (50 mg/kg) per OS once a day for 5 (G2) or 10 (G3) consecutive days or were left untreated (G1). The efficacy of oxfendazole in the reduction of O. lupi mfs was evaluated by microfilarial count and by assessing the percentage of mfs reduction and mean microfilaricidal efficacy, whereas the efficacy in the reduction of ocular lesions was evaluated by ultrasound imaging. All dogs where subjected to follow-ups at 30 (D30), 90 (D90) and 180 (D180) days post-treatment. The percentage of reduction of mfs was 78% for G2 and 12.5% for G3 at D180. The mean microfilaricidal efficacy of oxfendazole in the treatment of canine onchocercosis by O. lupi at D30, D90 and D180 was 41%, 81% and 90%, in G2 and 40%, 65% and 70%, in G3, respectively. Retrobulbar lesions did not reduce from D0 to D180 in control group (dogs in G1), whereas all treated dogs (in G2 and G3) had slightly decreased ocular lesions. Percentage of reduction of ocular lesions by ultrasound examination was 50% and 47.5% in G2 and G3 at D180, respectively. Despite the decrease in ocular lesions in all treated dogs (G2 and G3), oxfendazole was ineffective in reducing ocular lesions and skin-dwelling O. lupi mfs in treated dogs (G2 and G3) in a six-month follow-up period. Here we discuss the need for more reliable diagnostic techniques and efficient treatment protocols to better plan future intervention strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Among ocular vector-borne pathogens, Onchocerca volvulus, the agent of the so-called "river blindness", affects about 37 million people globally. Other Onchocerca spp. have been sporadically reported as zoonotic agents. Cases of canine onchocerciasis caused by Onchocerca lupi are on the rise in the United States and Europe. Its zoonotic role has been suspected but only recently ascertained in a single case from Turkey. The present study provides further evidence on the occurrence of O. lupi infesting human eyes in two patients from Turkey (case 1) and Tunisia (case 2). The importance of obtaining a correct sample collection and preparation of nematodes infesting human eyes is highlighted. METHODS: In both cases the parasites were identified with morpho-anatomical characters at the gross examination, histological analysis and anatomical description and also molecularly in case 1. RESULTS: The nematode from the first case was obviously O. lupi based on their morphology at the gross examination, histological analysis and anatomical description. In the second case, although the diagnostic cuticular characters were not completely developed, other features were congruent with the identification of O. lupi. Furthermore, the morphological identification was also molecularly confirmed in the Turkish case. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that O. lupi infestation is not an occasional finding but it should be considered in the differential diagnosis of other zoonotic helminths causing eye infestation in humans (e.g., D. immitis and Dirofilaria repens). Both cases came from areas where no cases of canine onchocerciasis were previously reported in the literature, suggesting that an in depth appraisal of the infestation in canine populations is necessary. Physicians and ophthalmologists are advised on how to preserve nematode samples recovered surgically, to allow a definitive, correct etiological diagnosis.
Project description:The ocular onchocercosis is caused by the zoonotic parasite Onchocerca lupi (Spirurida: Onchocercidae). A major hindrance to scientific progress is the absence of a reliable diagnostic test in affected individuals. Microscopic examination of skin snip sediments and the identification of adults embedded in ocular nodules are seldom performed and labour-intensive. A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay was herein standardized for the detection of O. lupi DNA and the results compared with microscopic examination and conventional PCR (cPCR). The specificity of qPCR and cPCR was assessed by processing the most common filarial nematodes infecting dogs, skin samples from O. lupi infected (n = 35 dogs) or uninfected animals (n = 21 dogs; n = 152 cats) and specimens of potential insect vector (n = 93 blackflies; n = 59 mosquitoes/midges). The analytical sensitivity of both assays was assessed using 10-fold serial dilutions of DNA from adult specimen and from a pool of microfilariae. The qPCR on skin samples revealed an analytical specificity of 100% and a sensitivity up to 8 x 10-1 fg/2?l O. lupi adult-DNA and up to 3.6 x 10-1 pg/2?l of mfs-DNA (corresponding to 1 x 10-2 mfs/2?l). Only 9.5% O. lupi-infected skin samples were positive for cPCR with a sensitivity of 8 x 10-1 pg/2?l of DNA. Out of 152 blackflies and mosquitoes/midges, eight specimens experimentally infected (n = 1 S. erythrocephalum; n = 1 S. ornatum; n = 6 Simulium sp.) were positive by qPCR. The qPCR assay herein standardized represents an important step forward in the diagnosis of zoonotic onchocercosis caused by O. lupi, especially for the detection and quantification of low number of mfs. This assay provides a fundamental contribution for the establishment of surveillance strategies aiming at assessing the presence of O. lupi in carnivores and in insect species acting as potential intermediate hosts. The O. lupi qPCR assay will enable disease progress monitoring as well as the diagnosis of apparently clinical healthy dogs and cats.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Onchocerca lupi is a dog parasite of increasing zoonotic concern, with new human cases diagnosed in Turkey, Tunisia, Iran, and the United States. Information about the morphology of this nematode is scant and a detailed re-description of this species is overdue. In addition, histopathological data of potential usefulness for the identification of O. lupi infections are provided. METHODS: Male and female nematodes, collected from the connective tissue of a dog, were examined using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and an histological evaluation was performed on biopsy samples from periocular tissues. RESULTS: The morphological identification was confirmed by molecular amplification and partial sequencing of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene. This study provides the first comprehensive morphological and morphometric description of O. lupi from a dog based on light microscopy, SEM, molecular characterization, and histological observations. CONCLUSIONS: Data herein presented contribute to a better understanding of this little known parasitic zoonosis, whose impact on human and animal health is still underestimated. The presence of granulomatous reactions only around the female adult suggests that the release of microfilariae from the uterus might be the cause of the inflammatory reaction observed.
Project description:Onchocerca lupi causes ocular pathology of varying severity in dogs from south-western United States, western Europe and northern Asia. This filarioid has also been recognized as a zoonotic agent in Tunisia, Turkey, Iran and the USA, though the information about the biology and epidemiology of this infection is largely unknown. In Europe, O. lupi has been reported in dogs from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Romania and in a cat from Portugal. The present study was designed to establish the occurrence of O. lupi in dogs in southwestern Spain. In the present study a total of 104 dogs of different breed, sex, and age living in a shelter in Huelva (SW Spain) were examined. Skin snip samples were collected using a disposable scalpel in the forehead and inter-scapular regions and stored as aliquots in saline solution (0.5 ml) before light microscopy observation of individual sediments (20 μl) and molecular examination.Of the 104 dogs examined, 5 (4.8 %) were skin snip-positive for O. lupi: two by microscopy and three by PCR. One of the O. lupi infected dogs showed neurological signs but ocular ultrasonography and/or MRI detected no abnormalities.This first report of O. lupi infection in dogs in southern Spain expands the range of geographical distribution of this parasite and sounds an alarm bell for practitioners and physicians working in that area.
Project description:Of increasing importance to the medical and veterinary communities is the zoonotic filarioid nematode Onchocerca lupi. Onchocercosis, thus far found in wolves, dogs, cats and humans, is diagnosed via skin snips to detect microfilariae and surgical removal of adults from the eye of the host. These methods are time-consuming, laborious and invasive, highlighting the need for new tools for the diagnosis of O. lupi in susceptible hosts. Symptoms related to the presence of the adults in the eye can range from none apparent to severe, including blindness. No reliable chemotherapeutic protocols are available, as yet, to eliminate the infection. Paramyosin, an invertebrate-specific protein, has been well-studied as an allergen, diagnostic marker and vaccine candidate. The aim of this study, therefore, was to isolate and characterise paramyosin from O. lupi to assess its suitability for the development of a serological diagnostic assay.The adult and microfilarial stages of O. lupi were isolated from the eyes and skin of a 3-year-old male dog. Total RNA was extracted and reverse transcribed into single stranded cDNA. Reverse-transcription PCR was used to isolate a full-length paramyosin cDNA from adult worms and to investigate the temporal expression patterns of this gene. All amplicons were sequenced using dideoxy chain termination sequencing. Bioinformatics was used to predict the amino acid sequence of the gene, to compare the DNA and protein sequences with those available in public databases and to investigate the phylogenetic relationship of all molecules. Antibody binding sites were predicted using bioinformatics and mapped along with published antigenic epitopes against the O. lupi paramyosin protein. The native protein, and three smaller recombinantly expressed peptides, were subjected to western blot using serum from dogs both positive and negative for O. lupi.Paramyosin of O. lupi was herein molecularly characterized, encoded by a transcript of 2,643 bp and producing a protein of 881 amino acids (101.24 kDa). The paramyosin transcript was detected, by reverse transcription PCR, in adults and microfilariae, but not in eggs. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this molecule clusters with paramyosins from other filarioids to the exclusion of those from other taxa. A total of 621 unique antibody binding epitopes were predicted for this protein and another 28 were conserved in other organisms. This information was used to design three peptides, for recombinant expression, to identify the antibody binding epitope(s) and reduce potential cross-reactivity with serum from dogs infected with other filarioid nematodes. Native paramyosin, purified from microfilariae and adults, was detected by antibodies present in serum from dogs with known O. lupi infections.Data provided herein may assist in the development of a serological diagnostic test, based on antibodies to O. lupi paramyosin, for the diagnosis of this infection, in order to gain more information on the real distribution of this little known filarioid of zoonotic concern.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Among the arthropod-borne nematodes infesting dogs, Onchocerca lupi (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) is of increasing zoonotic concern, with new human cases of infection diagnosed in Turkey, Tunisia, Iran and the USA. Knowledge of the biology of this nematode is meagre. This study aimed at assessing the distribution and periodicity of O. lupi microfilariae from different body regions in naturally infested dogs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Skin samples were collected from six dogs infested with O. lupi but without apparent clinical signs. Two skin samples were collected from 18 anatomical regions of dog 1 at necropsy. In addition, single skin biopsies were performed from the forehead, inter-scapular and lumbar regions of dogs 2-6, in the morning, afternoon, and at night. Two aliquots of the sediment of each sample were microscopically observed, microfilariae counted and morphologically and molecularly identified. Most of the 1,667 microfilariae retrieved from dog 1 were in the right ear (59.6%), nose (26.5%), left ear (6.7%), forehead (3.0%), and inter-scapular (2.9%) regions. In dogs 2-6, the overall mean number of microfilariae was larger on the head (n = 122.8), followed by the inter-scapular (n = 119.0) and lumbar (n = 12.8) regions. The overall mean number of microfilariae was larger in the afternoon (153.4), followed by night (75.4) and morning (25.8). CONCLUSIONS: Onchocerca lupi microfilariae were more common in the head (i.e., ears and nose) than in the remaining part of the dog's body, indicating they tend to aggregate in specific body regions, which are the best sites to collect skin samples for diagnostic purposes. The periodicity pattern of microfilariae of O. lupi and their concentration in specific body regions is most likely a result of the co-evolution with their as-yet-unknown vector. The detection of skin microfilariae in asymptomatic animals, suggests the potential role of these animals as carriers and reservoirs of O. lupi.