Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 160–166 | Cite as

Nematode Thelazia callipaeda is spreading across Europe. The first survey of red foxes from Slovakia

  • Viktória Čabanová
  • Martina MiterpákováEmail author
  • Martin Oravec
  • Zuzana Hurníková
  • Slavomír Jerg
  • Gabriela Nemčíková
  • Michaela Brincko Červenská


Canine thalaziosis caused by the spirurid nematode Thelazia callipaeda has started to spread across Western and Central Europe during the last decade. In Slovakia, the first autochthonous cases of this infection were recorded in 2016 in four dogs from the south-eastern part of the country. In August 2017 other autochthonous case, again from the same locality, was reported. Seeing that red foxes are considered the main reservoir hosts for T. callipaeda, their examination could provide an integrated view of the real parasite distribution. Within the present study, 523 red foxes were examined by necropsy, and T. callipaeda nematodes were recovered from the conjunctival sacs of 7 animals, which represents an overall positivity of 1.3%. Six infected foxes originated in eastern Slovakia, which is consistent with the area where positive dogs were recently found. Also, single positive red fox was found in north-western Slovakia. Regarding morphology and morphometry, the specimens recovered from the foxes in this study were evaluated as larger in size when compared to nematodes isolated from Slovak dogs as well as dogs and foxes from other studies. BLAST analyses of the cox1 gene showed that all specimens isolated from Slovak red foxes were identified as haplotype 1 which circulated also in other European countries. Considering that majority of the infected animals, dogs and foxes, came from Košice region, we can presume that this area might become endemic in a short period of time.


Thelazia callipaeda oriental eyeworm red fox Vulpes vulpes Central Europe 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson R.C. 2000. Nematode parasites of vertebrates. Their development and transmission. CABI Publishing, Guilford, UK, pp. 363–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calero-Bernal R., Otranto D., Pérez-Martín J.E., Serrano F.J., Reina D. 2013. First report of Thelazia callipaeda in wildlife from Spain. Journal of Wildllife Diseases, 49, 458–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Casiraghi M., Anderson T.J.C., Bandi C., Bazzocchi C., Genchi C. 2001. A phylogenetic analysis of filarial nematodes: comparison with the phylogeny of Wolbachia endosymbionts. Parasitology, 122, 93–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Colella V., Kirkova Z., Fók É., Mihalca A.D., Tasić-Otašević S., Hodžić A., Dantas-Torres F., Otranto D. 2016. Increase of eyeworm infections in eastern Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22, 1513–1515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Čabanová V., Kocák P., Víchová B., Miterpáková M. 2017. First autochthonous cases of canine thelaziosis in Slovakia: a new affected area in Central Europe. Parasites & Vectors, 10, 179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Čepelák J. 1986. Diptera of Slovakia, 2nd Edn. Veda, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia, pp. 436Google Scholar
  7. de Bellock J.G., Ferté H., Depaquit J., Justine J.L., Tillier A., Durette-Desset M.C. 2001. Phylogeny of the Trichostrongylina (Nematoda) inferred from 28S rDNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 19, 430–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dorchies P., Chaudieu G., Siméon L.A., Cazalot G., Cantacessi C., Otranto D. 2007. First report of autochthonous eyeworm infection by Thelazia callipaeda (Sprirurida, Thelaziidae) in dogs and cat from France. Veterinary Parasitology, 149, 294–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fuentes I., Montes I., Saugar J.M., Latrofa S., Gárate T., Otranto D. 2012. Thelaziosis in humans, a zoonotic infection, Spain, 2011. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 18, 2073–2075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gajić B., Bogunović D., Stevanović J., Kulišić Z., Simeunović P., Stanimirović Z. 2014. Canine and feline thelaziosis caused by Thelazia callipaeda in Serbia. Acta Veterinaria Belgrade, 64, 447–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gama A., Pires I., Canado M., Coutinho T., Lopes A.P., Latrofa M.S., Cardoso L., Dantas-Torres F., Otranto D. 2016. First report of Thelazia callipaeda infection in wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Portugal. Parasites & Vectors, 9, 236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hodžić A., Latrofa M.S., Annoscia G., Alić A., Beck R., Lia R.P., Dantas-Torres F., Otranto D. 2014. The spread of zoonotic Thelazia callipaeda in the Balkan area. Parasites & Vectors, 7, 352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kanchev K., Kamenov Y., Radev V., Dimov D., Zlateva N., Yanovski D., et al. 2013. On morpohological features of Thelazia callipaeda (Reilliet and Henry, 1910) in dogs from southwestern Bulgaria. In: Proceedings of the conference “Tradition and Modernity in Veterinary Medicine”, 2229 November–1 December 2013, Yundola, Bulgaria, pp. 173–182Google Scholar
  14. Magnis J., Naucke T.J., Mathis A., Deplazes P., Schnyder M. 2010. Local transmission of the eye worm Thelazia callipaeda in southern Germany. Parasitology Research, 106, 715–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Malacrida F., Hegglin D., Bacciarini L., Otranto D., Nägeli F., Nägali C., et al. 2008. Emergence of canine ocular thelaziosis caused by Thelazia callipaeda in southern Switzerland. Veterinary Parasitology, 157, 321–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Máca J., Roháček J. 2009: Drosophilidae. In: (Eds J. Roháček and J. Ševčík) Diptera of the Poľana Protected Landscape Area–Biosphere Reserve (Central Slovakia). SNC SR, Administration of the PLA–BR Poľana, Zvolen, Slovakia, pp. 271–276Google Scholar
  17. Máca J., Otranto D. 2014. Drosophilidae feeding in animals and the inherent mystery of their parasitism. Parasites & Vectors, 7, 516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mihalca A.D., D’Amico G., Scurtu I., Chirilă R., Matei I.A., Ionică A.M. 2015. Further spreading of canine oriental eyeworm in Europe: first report of Thelazia callipaeda in Romania. Parasites & Vectors, 8, 48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miró G., Montoya A., Henrández L., Dado D., Vázquez M.V., Benito M., et al. 2011. Thelazia callipaeda: infection in dogs: a new parasite for Spain. Parasites & Vectors, 4, 148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miterpáková M., Hurníková Z., Antolová D., Dubinský P. 2009. Endoparasites of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the Slovak Republic with the emphasis on zoonotic species Echinococcus multilocularis and Trichinella spp. Helminthologia, 46, 73–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Odoevskaya I.M., Khrustalev A.V., Shaitanov V.M., Seriodkin I.V., Panayotova-Pencheva M.S. 2015. Occurrence of the Nematode Thelazia callipaeda Railliet and Henry, 1910 (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) in Wild Carnivores in the Russian Far East. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica, 67, 561–566Google Scholar
  22. Otranto D., Lia R.P., Traversa D., Giannetto S. 2003a. Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) of carnivores and humans: morphological study by light and scanning electron microscopy. Parassitologia, 45, 125–133PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Otranto D., Ferroglio E., Lia R., Traversa D., Rossi L. 2003b. Current status and epidemiological observations of Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) in dogs, cats and foxes in Italy: a “coincidence” or a parasitic disease of the Old Continent. Veterinary Parasitology, 116, 315–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Otranto D., Testini G., De Luca F., Hu M., Shamsi S., Gasser R.B. 2005. Analysis of genetic variability within Thelazia callipaeda (Nematoda:Thelazioidea) from Europe and Asia by sequencing and mutatuin scanning of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene. Molecular and Cellular Probes, 19, 306–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Otranto D., Cantacessi C., Testini G., Lia R.P. 2006a. Phortica variegata as an intermediate host of Thelazia callipaeda under natural conditions: Evidence for pathogen transmission by a male arthropod vector. International Journal for Parasitology, 36, 167–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Otranto D., Brianti E., Cantacessi C., Lia R.P., Máca J. 2006b. The zoophilic fruitfly Phortica variegata: morphology, ecology and biological niche. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 20, 358–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Otranto D., Dutto M. 2008. Human Thelaziasis, Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14, 647–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Otranto D., Dantas-Torres F., Mallia E., DiGeronimo P.M., Brianti E., Testini G., et al. 2009. Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thalaziidae) in wild animals: Report of new host species and ecological implications. Veterinary Parasitology, 166, 262–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Otranto D., Dantas-Torres F. 2015. Transmission of the eyeworm Thelazia callipaeda: between fantasy and reality. Parasites & Vectors, 8, 273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Papadopoulos E., Komnenou A., Thomas A., Ioannidou E., Colella V., Otranto D. 2017. Spreading of Thelazia callipaeda in Greece. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 1–5. DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12626Google Scholar
  31. Pavlović I., Jakić-Dimić D., Kureljušić B., Ćirović D., Jezdimirović N., Drobnjak M. 2017. First occurrence of Thelazia callipaeda in foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) in Serbia. Balkan Journal of Wildlife Research, 4, 1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Paradžik M., Samardžić K., Živičnjak T., Martinković F., Janjetović Ž., Miletić-Medved M. 2016. Thelazia callipaeda—first human case of thelaziosis in Croatia. Wien Klin Wochenschr, 128, 221–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rossi L., Bertaglia P.P. 1989. Presence of Thelazia callipaeda Railiet and Henry, 1910, in Piedmont, Italy. Parassitologia, 31, 167–172PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Sargo R., Loureiro F., Catarino A.L., Valente J., Silva F., Cardoso L., et al. 2014. First report of Thelazia callipaeda in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Portugal. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 45, 458–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Skrjabin K.I., Sobolev A.A., Ivashkin V.M. 1967. Part 4–Thelazioidea. In: Principles of Nematodology, Vol. XVI. Spirurata of Animals and Man and the Disease caused by them. Izdatelstvo Akademii Nauk, Moscow, Russia, pp. 29–36Google Scholar
  36. Tasić-Otašević S., Gabrielli S., Trenkić-Božinović M., Petrović A., Gajić B., Collela V., et al. 2016. Eyeworm infections in dogs and in a human patient in Serbia: A One Health approach is needed. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 45, 20–22Google Scholar
  37. Tudor P., Bădicu A., Mateescu R., Tudor N., Mateescu C., Ionşcu I. 2016. First report of canine ocular thelaziosis in the Muntenia Region, Romania. Parasitology Research, 115, 1741–1744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Werner T., Jaenike J. 2017. Drosophilids of the Midwest and Northeast. River Campus Libraries, New York, USA, pp. 256Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viktória Čabanová
    • 1
  • Martina Miterpáková
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Oravec
    • 2
  • Zuzana Hurníková
    • 1
  • Slavomír Jerg
    • 3
  • Gabriela Nemčíková
    • 4
  • Michaela Brincko Červenská
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of ParasitologySlovak Academy of SciencesKošiceSlovakia
  2. 2.Veterinary and Food InstituteKošiceSlovakia
  3. 3.Veterinary InstituteZvolenSlovakia
  4. 4.Veterinary and Food InstituteBratislavaSlovakia
  5. 5.Veterinary and Food InstituteDolnýSlovakia

Personalised recommendations