Molecular detection of Setaria tundra (Nematoda: Filarioidea) and an unidentified filarial species in mosquitoes in Germany
1 German Mosquito Control Association (KABS), Waldsee, Germany
2 University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
3 Department of Parasitology, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany
4 Department of Virology, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany
5 Department of Tropical Medicine, Bundeswehr Hospital Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:14 doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-14Published: 11 January 2012
Knowledge of the potential vector role of Culicidae mosquitoes in Germany is very scanty, and until recently it was generally assumed that they are not involved in the transmission of anthroponotic or zoonotic pathogens in this country. However, anticipated changes in the course of global warming and globalization may alter their status.
We conducted a molecular mass screening of mosquitoes for filarial parasites using mitochondrial 12S rRNA-based real-time PCR.
No parasites causing disease in humans such as Dirofilaria spp. were detected in about 83,000 mosquitoes tested, which had been collected in 2009 and 2010 in 16 locations throughout Germany. However, minimum infection rates of up to 24 per 1000 mosquitoes were revealed, which could be attributed to mosquito infection with Setaria tundra and a yet unidentified second parasite. Setaria tundra was found to be widespread in southern Germany in various mosquito species, except Culex spp. In contrast, the unidentified filarial species was exclusively found in Culex spp. in northern Baden-Württemberg, and is likely to be a bird parasite.
Although dirofilariasis appears to be emerging and spreading in Europe, the absence of Dirofilaria spp. or other zoonotic filariae in our sample allows the conclusion that the risk of autochthonous infection in Germany is still very low. Potential vectors of S. tundra in Germany are Ochlerotatus sticticus, Oc. cantans, Aedes vexans and Anopheles claviger. Technically, the synergism between entomologists, virologists and parasitologists, combined with state-of-the-art methods allows a very efficient near-real-time monitoring of a wide spectrum of both human and veterinary pathogens, including new distribution records of parasite species and the incrimination of their potential vectors.