Three different Hepatozoon species in domestic cats from southern Italy

Alessio Giannelli, Maria Stefania Latrofa, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Adnan Hodžić, Grazia Greco, Anna Attanasi, Giada Annoscia, Domenico Otranto*, Gad Baneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Three species of Hepatozoon, namely, Hepatozoon felis, Hepatozoon canis and Hepatozoon silvestris may affect domestic and/or wild felids. Although hepatozoonosis has been documented in a wide range of mammal species, data on cats are limited. To investigate the occurrence of these pathogens in cats, blood samples were collected from animals living in three provinces of southern Italy (Bari, Lecce, and Matera), and molecularly analysed by PCR amplification and sequencing of segments of the 18S rRNA gene. Out of 196 blood samples collected, Hepatozoon spp. DNA was amplified in ten cats (5.1%, CI: 3%-9%), with the majority of infected animals from Matera (8/34, 23.5%) and one each from the other two provinces. BLAST analysis revealed the highest nucleotide identity with sequences of H. canis, H. felis and H. silvestris deposited in GenBank. Results of this study indicate that these three species of Hepatozoon infect domestic cats in Italy. This is the first report of H. silvestris infection in a domestic cat.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)721-724
Number of pages4
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier GmbH


  • 18S rRNA
  • Domestic cats
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Hepatozoon felis
  • Hepatozoon silvestris
  • Italy


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