Autochthonous Angiostrongylus vasorum in Finland

17 Mar 2019

Tiskina, V., Lindqvist, E.-L., Blomqvist, A.-C., Orav, M., Stensvold, C. R., Jokelainen, P.

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Angiostrongylus vasorum has spread farther north in Europe. In this study, two autochthonous findings from dogs from Finland are described: in February 2014, the infection was diagnosed in a 10-month-old labrador retriever, and in February 2017, in a three-year-old French bulldog. These diagnoses were based on direct detection of the larvae from faeces of the dogs. The dogs had no history of travel to or import from abroad; the first lived in Southern Finland and the other in Western Finland, about 150 km apart. The dogs had no clinical signs attributable to angiostrongylosis. An online questionnaire was used to survey the extent to which veterinarians in Finland have self-reportedly observed canine A vasorum infections. A total of 38 veterinarians authorised to work in Finland answered the questionnaire in December 2017, and 9 (24%) of them reported having seen one or more dogs with A vasorum infection in Finland. The results suggest that at least five individual dogs with A vasorum infection would have been seen in Finland, three of which had an apparently autochthonous infection. While the geographical distribution of A vasorum in Finland remains largely unknown, findings have started to appear from domestic dogs. It remains possible that some veterinarians could have misdiagnosed, for example, Crenosoma vulpis larvae as those of A vasorum, and the findings without confirmation using antigen test could be due to coprophagy and passage of ingested larvae; however, this does not change the main conclusion that can be made: A vasorum is already multifocally present in Finland. Increasing awareness about A vasorum is important in areas where it is emerging and spreading.