The role of dogs in transmission of gastrointestinal parasites in a remote tea-growing community in northeastern India.

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  • 1 World Health Organization Collaborating Center for the Molecular Epidemiology of Parasitic Infections, Division of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

The prevalence and risk factors associated with canine gastrointestinal parasitic zoonoses and the role of dogs in the mechanical transmission of human Ascaris infection was examined in three tea estates in Assam, India. Nearly all (99%) dogs harbored one or more zoonotic species of gastrointestinal parasites, with hookworm infection being most common (94%). Parasitic stages presumed to be host-specific for humans such as Ascaris spp. (31%), Trichuris trichiura (25%), and Isospora belli (2%) were also recovered from dog feces. A polymerase chain reaction-linked restriction fragment length polymorphism technique was used to differentiate the species of Ascaris eggs in dog feces. The results of this study demonstrate the role of the dog as a significant disseminator and environmental contaminator of Ascaris lumbricoides in communities where promiscuous defecation by humans occurs.