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Adv Parasitol. 2008;66:193-285. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(08)00204-2.

Heartworm disease in animals and humans.

Author information

1
Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.

Abstract

Heartworm disease due to Dirofilaria immitis continues to cause severe disease and even death in dogs and other animals in many parts of the world, even though safe, highly effective and convenient preventatives have been available for the past two decades. Moreover, the parasite and vector mosquitoes continue to spread into areas where they have not been reported previously. Heartworm societies have been established in the USA and Japan and the First European Dirofilaria Days (FEDD) Conference was held in Zagreb, Croatia, in February of 2007. These organizations promote awareness, encourage research and provide updated guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heartworm disease. The chapter begins with a review of the biology and life cycle of the parasite. It continues with the prevalence and distribution of the disease in domestic and wild animals, with emphasis on more recent data on the spreading of the disease and the use of molecular biology techniques in vector studies. The section on pathogenesis and immunology also includes a discussion of the current knowledge of the potential role of the Wolbachia endosymbiont in inflammatory and immune responses to D. immitis infection, diagnostic use of specific immune responses to the bacteria, immunomodulatory activity and antibiotic treatment of infected animals. Canine, feline and ferret heartworm disease are updated with regard to the clinical presentation, diagnosis, prevention, therapy and management of the disease, with special emphasis on the recently described Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) Syndrome in cats. The section devoted to heartworm infection in humans also includes notes on other epizootic filariae, particularly D. repens in humans in Europe. The chapter concludes with a discussion on emerging strategies in heartworm treatment and control, highlighting the potential role of tetracycline antibiotics in adulticidal therapy.

PMID:
18486691
DOI:
10.1016/S0065-308X(08)00204-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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