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Volume 58, Issue 4


Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens in Ukraine, an emergent zoonosis: epidemiological report of 1465 cases

Rusłan Sałamatin
  • Department of General Biology and Parasitology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • Department of Medical Parasitology, National Institute of Public Health — National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Tamara Pavlikovska / Olga Sagach / Svitlana Nikolayenko / Vadim Kornyushin / Vitaliy Kharchenko / Aleksander Masny
  • Department of Medical Parasitology, National Institute of Public Health — National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Danuta Cielecka
  • Department of General Biology and Parasitology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • Department of Medical Parasitology, National Institute of Public Health — National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Joanna Konieczna-Sałamatin / David Conn / Elzbieta Golab
  • Department of Medical Parasitology, National Institute of Public Health — National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
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Published Online: 2013-12-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-013-0187-x


The filarial nematode Dirofilaria repens is currently considered to be one of the most extensively spreading human and animal parasites in Europe. In Ukraine, reporting cases of dirofilariasis has been mandatory since 1975, and the disease was included in the national surveillance system for notifiable diseases. Up until December 31st 2012, a total of 1533 cases have been registered, with 1465 cases occurring within the previous 16 years. Most of the cases of dirofilariasis were registered in 6 regions: Kyiv, and the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Chernihiv oblasts. In the years 1997–2002 the highest incidence rate was noted in the Kherson oblast in the south of the country (9.79 per 100 000 people), and the lowest in western Ukraine (0.07–1.68 per 100 000 people). D. repens infections were registered in all oblasts. Parasitic lesions were most often located in the head, the subconjunctival tissue and around the eyes. D. repens lesions were also found in the limbs, torso, male sexual organs, and female mammary glands. Dirofilariasis was diagnosed in persons aged from 11 months to 90 years old, most often among people between 21–40 years of age. Most patients had only one parasitic skin lesion; the majority of isolated nematodes were female. The results of our analysis point to a constant increase in D. repens dirofilariasis incidence in humans in Ukraine. Despite educational efforts, infections have become more frequent and the territory in which the disease occurs has enlarged to encompass the whole of Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian sanitary-epidemiological services managed to achieve some measure of success, e.g. by creating a registration system for D. repens infections and establishing proper diagnostics for the disease.

Keywords: Dirofilariasis; Dirofilaria repens; human; epidemiology; Ukraine; Europe

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-13

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 58, Issue 4, Pages 592–598, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-013-0187-x.

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© 2013 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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