Molecular survey of Dirofilaria species in stray dogs, red foxes and golden jackals from Vojvodina, Serbia
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Cardiopulmonary dirofilariosis in dogs and other carnivores is caused by Dirofilaria immitis, while Dirofilaria repens usually causes a subcutaneous infection. The importance of red foxes and golden jackals in the epidemiology of dirofilariosis remains unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to conduct a cross-sectional molecular survey of Dirofilaria species in stray dogs, red foxes and golden jackals from the endemic region of Vojvodina, Serbia, in order to determine and update data on their prevalence and provide insight into the epidemiological importance of wild canids. A total of 59 blood samples from stray dogs, 94 from red foxes and 32 from golden jackals were collected and screened by real-time PCR targeting a 115-bp fragment of the mitochondrial 12S gene of filarioids and by conventional PCR assay targeting a 484–524-bp fragment of 5.8S-ITS2-28S locus of filarioids. The cross-sectional molecular survey detected the filarioid mitochondrial 12S gene fragment in stray dogs (27.1 %), red foxes (8.5 %) and golden jackals (6.3 %) in the same endemic region of Vojvodina, Serbia. Only D. immitis was detected in stray dogs, while both D. immitis and D. repens were detected in populations of red foxes and golden jackals. These results outline a possible interaction of D. immitis infection between the dog population and the wild canid populations, while D. repens was found to circulate mostly in golden jackals and red foxes populations.