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The canine roundworm Dirofilaria repens is transmitted by mosquitoes and occasionally causes skin disease in dogs. If humans are infected, knot-like lesions occur on the skin, and eye infiltration or meningitis may develop worst case.
The parasite has originally been prevalent only in the warm countries of Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean basin. However, increasingly frequent reports of indigenous infections in recent years have appeared in more northerly countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Apparently climate change and in particular importing of infected dogs from southern Europe have allowed the infection to become established in central Europe.
In the course of our mosquito monitoring, we conducted large-scale examinations of mosquitoes from Germany for parasites in 2013 for the first time. A total of approximately 75,000 insects caught in nine different German states during 2011 and 2012 were analysed. Thereby we found repeated instances of Dirofilaria repens in mosquitoes from Brandenburg near the Oder River. The results probably mean that a number of dogs in this region are already infected. Obviously there is a need for treatment. Veterinarians and health officials have been informed.
Christina Czajka, Hanna Jöst, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Egbert Tannich, and external cooperation partners (see publication)