FIRST RECORDS OF DIROFILARIA REPENS IN WILD CANIDS FROM THE REGION OF CENTRAL BALKAN
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Dirofilaria repens causes an emerging zoonotic disease in Europe, particularly in its southern part, the Mediterranean region. Many reports on human dirofilariosis have been published recently, but little is known about the wildlife hosts and reservoirs of this parasite in nature. This paper presents the first records of adult D. repens specimens from free-ranging carnivores in Central Balkan countries (Serbia and Macedonia). During the period 2009-2013, a total of 145 regularly shot canids were examined for the presence of D. repens adults. In order to investigate their role as hosts and potential wild reservoirs of this zoonosis, 71 wolves (Canis lupus), 48 foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 26 jackals (Canis aureus) were examined. Under the skin of two wolves (one from Serbia and one from Macedonia) and of a red fox from Serbia D. repens adults were found. In all three cases only one parasite was present. Further research on wild canids is needed, particularly on species widening their range (such as jackals) and those living near human settlements (foxes and jackals), which facilitates the transmission of the parasites to dogs and humans.