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Retrospective molecular study on canine hepatozoonosis in Slovakia – Does infection risk for dogs really exist?

Miterpáková, Martina, Komjáti-Nagyová, Martina, Hurníková, Zuzana, Víchová, Bronislava
Ticks and tick-borne diseases 2017 v.8 no.4 pp. 567-573
DNA, Hepatozoon canis, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Vulpes vulpes, blood, dog diseases, dogs, foxes, nucleotide sequences, pathogenicity, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal RNA, risk, tick-borne diseases, ticks, Slovakia
This study provides the very first evidence of Hepatozoon canis infection in dogs from Slovakia, a Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato free area. In total, 297 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 293 dogs, from three regions of Slovakia, were screened for the presence of H. canis using a conventional 18S rRNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Genomic DNA of this blood parasite was detected in 51 (17.1%) foxes from all sampling regions in Slovakia, whereas the overall prevalence in examined dogs was significantly lower, only 1.0%. Identity between nucleotide sequences from Slovak foxes and dogs ranged from 97.3 to 100%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that H. canis isolates from Slovakia are divided into two clusters, suggesting the coexistence of strain variants with unknown pathogenicity which needs to be further explored.