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First Evidence of Human Zoonotic Infection by Onchocerca lupi (Spirurida, Onchocercidae)

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  • Department of Veterinary Public Health, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Italy; Department of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology, Medical Faculty, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey; Department of Ophtalmology, Medical Faculty, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7205, Parasitologie Comparée, Paris, France

In the past decades, cases of canine ocular onchocercosis have been reported worldwide, particularly in the United States and Europe. Onchocerca lupi, originally described from a wolf, has been implicated in some of these cases, and its zoonotic role has been hypothesized on the basis of the reexamination of two cases of human ocular onchocerciasis. In the present study, we describe, for the first time, the occurrence of O. lupi in the subconjunctival region of the human eye in a patient from Turkey. The nematode was identified as O. lupi based on its morphology and molecular phylogenetic analysis of partial cox1 and 12S ribosomal DNA genes. The results suggest that O. lupi should be considered in the differential diagnosis of other eye parasitic infections in humans. The role of dogs as natural hosts of O. lupi and the vectors of this zoonotic parasite need to be investigated.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Domenico Otranto, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Zootecnia, Università Degli Studi di Bari, str. prov.le per Casamassima, km 3, 70010 Valenzano (Bari), Italy. E-mail: d.otranto@veterinaria.uniba.it

Authors' addresses: Domenico Otranto, Gabriella Testini, Riccardo P. Lia, and Filipe Dantas-Torres, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Zootecnia, Università Degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano (Bari), Italy, E-mails: d.otranto@veterinaria.uniba.it, g.testini@veterinaria.uniba.it, r.p.lia@veterinaria.uniba.it, and f.dantastorres@veterinaria.uniba.it. Nermin Sakru, Department of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey, E-mail: nsakru@yahoo.com. Vuslat P. Gürlü and Konuralp Yakar, Department of Ophtalmology, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey, E-mails: gurluvuslat@yahoo.com and alpyakar@yahoo.com. Odile Bain, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7205, Parasitologie Comparée, Paris, France, E-mail: bain@mnhn.fr.

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