Spain as a dispersion model for Thelazia callipaeda eyeworm in dogs in Europe.
AbstractThelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) causes ocular infection in carnivorous animals and humans. While growing numbers of companion dogs and sometimes cats are being diagnosed with thelaziosis, little is known about its real spread. As it has been also diagnosed in wild animals and human beings, it is considered a potential emerging zoonotic disease. This study provides information about the spread of the parasite in dogs in Spain since its initial description in 2010 until 2018. The first detection of T. callipaeda in the Principality of Andorra in 2017 is also reported. Two different studies were conducted: a) a survey in which clinical cases from veterinary practices were collected and b) a prevalence study in two endemic areas in western and central Spain (Site 1 La Vera region, Cáceres, and Site 2 El Escorial municipality, Madrid). In total, 1114 cases of thelaziosis were detected in 121 municipalities of Spain and 6 municipalities of Andorra. In 92 out these 127 municipalities, reports were of autochthonous cases. Six hundred twenty-three out of 1114 presented data collection sheet and were included in the statistical analysis: 510 cases identified by veterinarians in Spain and Andorra in Study 1, and 113 cases detected among the 234 dogs (48.3 %) examined in the prevalence study (Study 2). Prevalences were 61.3 % (84/137) for Cáceres and 29.9 % (29/97) for Madrid, being Site 1 significantly more risky (P < 0.0001, odds ratio: 3.72, CI: 2.14-4.47 %) compared to Site 2. Our study updates data for canine thelaziosis reported in the last decade in Spain and Andorra. Results highlight the urgent need for prevention strategies to control the spread of this potential zoonotic disease.