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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Dirofilaria spp. and Angiostrongylus vasorum: Current Risk of Spreading in Central and Northern Europe

Fuehrer, Hans-Peter; Morelli, Simone; Unterkoefler, Maria Sophia; Bajer, Anna; Bakran-Lebl, Karin; Dwuznik-Szarek, Dorota; Farkas, Robert; Grandi, Giulio; Heddergott, Mike; Jokelainen, Pikka; Knific, Tanja; Leschnik, Michael; Miterpakova, Martina; Modry, David; Petersen, Heidi Huus; Skirnisson, Karl; Vergles Rataj, Aleksandra; Schnyder, Manuela; Strube, Christina


In the past few decades, the relevance of Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens, causing cardiopulmonary and subcutaneous dirofilariosis in dogs and cats, and of Angiostrongylus vasorum, causing canine angiostrongylosis, has steadily increased in Central and Northern Europe. In this review, a summary of published articles and additional reports dealing with imported or autochthonous cases of these parasites is provided for Central (Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland) and Northern (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) Europe. Research efforts focusing on Dirofilaria spp. and A. vasorum have varied by country, and cross-border studies are few. The housing conditions of dogs, pet movements, the spread of competent vectors, and climate change are important factors in the spread of these nematodes. Dogs kept outside overnight are a major factor for the establishment of Dirofilaria spp. However, the establishment of invasive, diurnal, synanthropic, competent mosquito vectors such as Aedes albopictus may also influence the establishment of Dirofilaria spp. The drivers of the spread of A. vasorum remain not fully understood, but it seems to be influenced by habitats shared with wild canids, dog relocation, and possibly climatic changes; its pattern of spreading appears to be similar in different countries. Both Dirofilaria spp. and A. vasorum merit further monitoring and research focus in Europe.


Central Europe; Northern Europe; Dirofilaria immitis; Dirofilaria repens; Angiostrongylus vasorum

Published in

2021, volume: 10, number: 10, article number: 1268
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Fuehrer, Hans-Peter
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Morelli, Simone
University of Teramo
Unterkoefler, Maria Sophia
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Bajer, Anna
University of Warsaw
Bakran-Lebl, Karin
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Dwuznik-Szarek, Dorota
University of Warsaw
Farkas, Robert
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest
National Veterinary Institute (SVA)
Heddergott, Mike
National Museum of Natural History
Jokelainen, Pikka
Statens Serum Institut
Knific, Tanja
University of Ljubljana
Leschnik, Michael
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Miterpakova, Martina
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Modry, David
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Petersen, Heidi Huus
Technical University of Denmark
Skirnisson, Karl
University of Iceland
Vergles Rataj, Aleksandra
University of Ljubljana
Schnyder, Manuela
University of Zurich
Strube, Christina
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation

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