S P E A K E R S    P R E S E N T A T I O N S

#1 TITLE: Why Dirofilaria repens has more zoonotic impact than Dirofilaria immitis?
AFFILIATE: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, Italy
Some major differences have to be kept in mind considering Dirofilaria repens and D. immitis infections in dogs: For heartworm infections, several rapid, easy, in clinic serological kits are available that detect the circulating antigens of female worms. It allows veterinarians to a prompt diagnosis while no serological diagnostic is available for D. repens, and this hamper both a rapid screening in dog population or a rapid and easy diagnosis. Blood examination for circulating microfilariae is strongly suggested for both Dirofilaria infections, but this is the only way of D. repens dagnosis. However, Knott test that allows the visualization and the identification of microfilariae is not always familiar to veterinarians, mainly in areas of recent introduction of the parasite. Melarsomine dihydrochloride, currently used against D. immitis infections, has no efficacy against D. repens and only moxidectin has shown to be able to kill most of adult worms in experimental studies.
Most of macrocyclic lactones currently used for dirofilarial infections (ivermectin, milbemycin oxime and selamectin) are not fully efficacious against D. repens microfilariae and only moxidectin has been shown to be fully effective after four monthly administrations decreasing the risk of microfilariae transmission to mosquito vectors.
Finally, while all the macrocyclic lactone preventatives available on the veterinarian market are fully effective against D. immitis patent infections at least in Europe (some case of resistance have been reported from the USA), not all have the same potency against D. repens and only moxidectin has shown a full efficacy to prevent subcutaneous D. repens infections.
Keeping in mind all the above considerations, D. repens infection is much more difficult to be diagnosed and controlled in the reservoir population (microfilaraemic dogs), and its spreading will continue with the risk of increasing the public health concerns. Medical doctors and veterinarians must strictly collaborate for a better control and surveillance of this infection. For instance, in Ukraine reporting cases of dirofilariosis has been mandatory since 1975, and the disease was included in the national surveillance system for notifiable diseases. Guidelines for the control and treatment of Dirofilaria infections can be found in ESCCAP Guideline 5 (www.esccap.org).
#2 TITLE: Epidemiology of vectors and vector-borne infections of zoonotic importance in Germany
AFFILIATE: Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
#3 TITLE: Detection of Bartonella spp. in cat fleas collected from Hungarian cats
AFFILIATE: Faculty of Veterinary Science "Szent István" University, Budapest, Hungary
The cat usually with no clinical signs is the main reservoir of B. henselae. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché) is known to be a vector of this bacterium species causing Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) of humans that is regarded as one of the most common bacterial zoonoses acquired from pets. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of Bartonella spp. in cat fleas previously collected from cats in 11 veterinary clinics located across Hungary. DNA was extracted from the samples containing one or more cat fleas. The maximum number of fleas in one pool was 11. Of 187 DNA samples of 393 cat fleas 65 and 122 originated from Budapest and the countryside, respectively. A semi-nested PCR protocol developed by Cotté et al. (2008) was used. The positive PCR products were sequenced. Altogether 11 (5.9%) out of 187 samples contained DNA of Bartonella spp. Five (2.7%) samples were found to be positive to B. henselae. The infected cat fleas were collected in two and one clinics in the countryside and Budapest, respectively. The similarity shared between the positive samples and the reference sequences ranged from 96-99%. The other 6 (3.2%) samples were positive for B. clarridgeiae of which 3 originated from two areas of the countryside and the others from Budapest. The similarity of analyzed PCR products with reference sequences ranged between 91-99%.
#4 TITLE: Human congenital toxoplasmosis: focus on recent developments and controversies
AFFILIATE: Grenoble University Hospital and Medicine Faculty, France
Since its discovery in the early 1900’s Toxoplasma gondii infection has been the object of numerous studies. From a clinical point of view in human medicine, this zoonosis can be serious in case of congenital infection or in immunocompromised patients. Congenital toxoplasmosis is still the topic of many papers and some controversies have appeared. Taken as a whole, the protocols of screening, detection and prevention of toxoplasmic infection in pregnant women have led to a very low number of congenital infections cases in the countries where they are implemented, while, at the same time, other countries would like to implement it and some publications discuss the usefulness of such procedures. The screening and diagnosis of toxoplasmic infection in pregnant women and fetuses or newborns need the use of up to date serological and molecular techniques, and skillful interpretation. Serological techniques are numerous, and even if largely spread worldwide need to be deeply analyzed by medical parasitologists to avoid misinterpretation. The main developments in recent years have focused on antigens composition and improvement of the technical ability to date a seroconversion (IgG avidity). Molecular techniques (mainly “in house”) have been largely improved in the last decade by the use of valuable target sequences (B1, rep 529) and the development of large QC studies from reference centers. More recently, commercial kits from the in vitro diagnosis companies appeared on the market. However, despite these developments, many questions remain to be answered concerning pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of congenital toxoplasmosis.
#5 TITLE: Updates on adult Toxoplasmosis
AUTHORS: Associate Professor Christelle Pomares, MD, PhD
AFFILIATE: University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France
#6 TITLE: Toxoplasmosis: Of rodents, food animals and men
AFFILIATE: Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Serbia
#7 TITLE: Microsporidia as Emerging Pathogens and the Implications for Public Health
AUTHORS: Associate Professor Olga Maria Guerreiro de MATOS, MD, MSc, PhD
AFFILIATE: Unit of Medical Parasitology, Group of Opportunistic Protozoa/HIV and Other Protozoa, Global Health and Tropical Medicine, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Rua da Junqueira, 1349-008 Lisboa, Portugal.
Microsporidia are a group of obligate intracellular eukaryotic parasites, recently reclassified as fungi-related, ubiquitous in nature. Actually, more than 1,200 species of microsporidia are described in the literature, belonging to 160 genera. Most of these species infect insects and fish, and only 14 species have been identified as pathogenic for humans.

These organisms have long been known to be causative agents of economically important diseases in insects (silk worms and honeybees), fish and mammals, and they emerged as important opportunistic pathogens with the AIDS pandemic.

Diagnosis and clinical management of human microsporidiosis cases have improved significantly, but despite this progress, the epidemiology of diseases caused by microsporidia is still not well known.

The recent application of PCR-based molecular methods to microsporidia identification and characterization has led to: more reliable results compared with prevalence rates determined by light microscopy of stained biological smears; improve the knowledge about animal reservoirs, modes of transmission and risk factors associated with these pathogens; study the intraspecific variability of the species, and the distribution of genotypes by geographical location; enhance source tracking; and to calculate the pathogenic potential of an isolate. Likewise, the use of molecular tools has also led to the identification of new microsporidian species in humans, including Brachiola algerae and a Vittaforma corneae-like parasite.

Despite our knowledge about microsporidia have expanded remarkably, more research is needed to elucidate their complex taxonomy and epidemiology, to develop and commercialize new and less expensive diagnostic/detection techniques; and to find effective antimicrosporidial agents to be able to control infections in humans and animals.
#8 TITLE: Cysticercus bovis in portuguese cattle: a tale of two archipelagos
AUTHORS: Prof. Luis Manuel Madeira de CARVALHO, DVM, PhD
AFFILIATE: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Bovine cysticercosis is a parasitic disease caused by the young stages Cysticercus bovis of the tapeworm Taenia saginata, whose adult stages are found in humans, being also a zoonotic infection. Cattle work as intermediary hosts, being humans the final hosts of this parasite. C. bovis is seldom diagnosed in cattle in Portugal mainland, but it has been reported frequently in recent years in Madeira archipelago.
This study focused on the detection of bovine cysticercosis in cattle born in Azores and slaughtered in Madeira Island. The study of this parasite is important not only for Food Security and Public Health, but also because of the lack of knowledge on its prevalence in the Azores Autonomous Region (AAR), namely considering that many cases of bovine cysticercosis detected in Madeira are from Azorean animals. Initially, the rejections from meat hygiene records at ARM slaughterhouses between 2007 and 2013 were used to assess the total prevalence (5.82% positive), of animals born in ARM (9.56%) and those born in the Azores (5.24%). And within these, those who spent less than 6 weeks in ARM (0.8%), and those who remained more than 6 weeks in ARM (9.73%) before being moved to abattoirs.
Cases of bovine cysticercosis detected in Madeira in animals born in Azores and the lack of cases described at the AAR, was the motto for the second part of this research concerning this parasite at the Azores archipelago. For this purpose, 70 bulls were tested with a competition ELISA test (Bovine Cysticercosis antibody (CYT Ab) ELISA kit® (GENTAUR)) for the presence of antibodies anti-Cysticercus bovis before being shipped from Terceira (Azores) to Funchal (Madeira). From the total tested animals, 12.9% (9/70) showed high antibody concentrations (> 300 ng / ml) and from these, 44.4% (4/9) were positive to bovine cysticercosis at Sanitarian Inspection examination. Therefore we can conclude that animals detected with cysticercosis in Madeira Island may be autochthonous, but may also acquire the infection in Azores before moving to the first archipelago prior to slaughter.
This study showed that C. bovis is prevalent in cattle in both archipelagos and may constitute a serious risk of infection for humans ingesting raw or undercooked meat with this parasite. Further research is needed regarding human prevalence of T. saginata and farms more prone to be sources of bovine infection in these islands.