The red fox acts as reservoir for several helminthic infections which are of interest for both public and animal health. Huge efforts have been made for the assessment of the sensitivity of coprological tests for the detection of Echinococcus multilocularis, while less attention has been paid to other helminthic species. This study aimed at assessing the performance of two copromicroscopic techniques in the detection and prevalence estimation of gastrointestinal helminths in the red fox. Helminths were isolated from the small intestines of 150 red foxes from Bolzano province, Italy, with a scraping, filtration and counting technique (SFCT) and morphologically identified. Rectal contents were collected and submitted to simple flotation (FT) and, only for Taenids, a method based on the concentration of eggs and identification with multiplex PCR (CMPCR). Using SFCT as a reference standard, we estimated the sensitivity of the copromicroscopic tests. Three species of nematodes (namely, Toxocara canis, Uncinaria stenocephala and Pterygodermatites sp.) and five species of cestodes (E. multilocularis, Taenia crassiceps, T. polycantha, Hydatigera taeniaeformis, Mesocestoides sp.) were identified with SFCT, whereas eggs referable to the same taxa were detected with fecal diagnostics, except for Pterygodermatites sp. and Mesocestoides sp. The sensitivity of FT was low for all taxa, ranging from 9.8 to 36.3%, with lower values for Taeniidae. CMPCR was confirmed to perform better for the detection of Taeniidae eggs (23.5%) and the multiplex PCR on retrieved eggs was effective in the identification of the species. A meta-analysis of literature also suggested that our results are consistent with existing data, indicating that copromicroscopy tends to underestimate the prevalence of helminthic infections. The extent of such underestimation varies with taxon, being higher at high prevalence levels, in particular for cestodes. Irregular dynamics of egg shedding, and routine deep freezing of red fox feces may explain the frequency of false negatives with copromicroscopy. Low sensitivity of copromicroscopic tests should be accounted for when estimating prevalence and when defining the correct sample size for the detection of the parasites.

Comparing copromicroscopy to intestinal scraping to monitor red fox intestinal helminths with zoonotic and veterinary importance

Marchiori E.
;
Obber F.;Marcer F.;Danesi P.;Maurizio A.;Cassini R.
2023

Abstract

The red fox acts as reservoir for several helminthic infections which are of interest for both public and animal health. Huge efforts have been made for the assessment of the sensitivity of coprological tests for the detection of Echinococcus multilocularis, while less attention has been paid to other helminthic species. This study aimed at assessing the performance of two copromicroscopic techniques in the detection and prevalence estimation of gastrointestinal helminths in the red fox. Helminths were isolated from the small intestines of 150 red foxes from Bolzano province, Italy, with a scraping, filtration and counting technique (SFCT) and morphologically identified. Rectal contents were collected and submitted to simple flotation (FT) and, only for Taenids, a method based on the concentration of eggs and identification with multiplex PCR (CMPCR). Using SFCT as a reference standard, we estimated the sensitivity of the copromicroscopic tests. Three species of nematodes (namely, Toxocara canis, Uncinaria stenocephala and Pterygodermatites sp.) and five species of cestodes (E. multilocularis, Taenia crassiceps, T. polycantha, Hydatigera taeniaeformis, Mesocestoides sp.) were identified with SFCT, whereas eggs referable to the same taxa were detected with fecal diagnostics, except for Pterygodermatites sp. and Mesocestoides sp. The sensitivity of FT was low for all taxa, ranging from 9.8 to 36.3%, with lower values for Taeniidae. CMPCR was confirmed to perform better for the detection of Taeniidae eggs (23.5%) and the multiplex PCR on retrieved eggs was effective in the identification of the species. A meta-analysis of literature also suggested that our results are consistent with existing data, indicating that copromicroscopy tends to underestimate the prevalence of helminthic infections. The extent of such underestimation varies with taxon, being higher at high prevalence levels, in particular for cestodes. Irregular dynamics of egg shedding, and routine deep freezing of red fox feces may explain the frequency of false negatives with copromicroscopy. Low sensitivity of copromicroscopic tests should be accounted for when estimating prevalence and when defining the correct sample size for the detection of the parasites.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3476057
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