Occurrence of Hepatozoon canis and Cercopithifilaria bainae in an off-host population of Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato ticks

Rafael Antonio Nascimento Ramos, Alessio Giannelli, Domenico Carbone, Gad Baneth, Filipe Dantas-Torres, Domenico Otranto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Hepatozoon canis (Eucoccidiorida, Hepatozoidae) and the filarioid Cercopithifilaria bainae (Spirurida, Onchocercidae) are tick-transmitted infectious agents of dogs, highly prevalent in the Mediterranean basin in association with Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato. Ticks were collected from the environment every 25. ±. 2 days in a confined location in southern Italy where a community of dogs lives, from August 2012 to July 2013. In order to study the occurrence of H. canis and C. bainae, 1091 tick specimens (770 adults; 271 nymphs, and 50 larvae) were dissected, and oocysts of H. canis and larvae of C. bainae were morphologically identified. Out of 1091 dissected ticks, 13.47% (n= 147) were positive for H. canis, with the highest prevalence recorded in unfed adults (16.4%; 126/770), followed by nymphs collected as larvae and allowed to moult (14%; 7/50), unfed nymphs dissected immediately after collection (3%; 8/271), and adults collected as nymphs and allowed to moult (2%; 6/271). The highest number of H. canis-positive ticks (35.5%; 43/121; P<. 0.05) was recorded during the summer months (i.e., June-July). In addition, 6% of adult ticks (n= 66) were positive for third-stage larvae of C. bainae, with the highest number in June (17%; 14/84; P<. 0.05). Based on the results reported herein, H. canis and C. bainae infections in the study area seem to be dependent on the seasonality of vector tick populations. Hence, dogs living in these areas are more exposed to both pathogens during the warmer months. These findings provide new insights into the ecology of both H. canis and C. bainae.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)311-314
Number of pages4
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Canine vector-borne disease
  • Cercopithifilaria bainae
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Occurrence
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus


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