, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 605-611
Date: 29 Mar 2007

Influence of urbanization on the epidemiology of intestinal helminths of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Geneva, Switzerland

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Abstract

Dixenous helminths that depend on rodent intermediate hosts are supposed to be negatively affected by urbanization due to lower supply of rodents in urbanized environments. Prevalence rates of dixenous, non-strictly monoxenous, and monoxenous helminths in 228 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) along a gradient of increasing urbanization were assessed by morphological parasite identification in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Multivariate analyses for the five most prevalent helminth species or genera revealed a significant decrease of prevalence rates for the dixenous helminths Echinococcus multilocularis and Taenia spp. from the rural (52.1 and 54.3%, respectively) to the urban area (30.0 and 20.0%, respectively), but not for the monoxenous nematode Uncinaria stenocephala (overall prevalence of 78.2%) and the non-strictly monoxenous nematode Toxocara canis (overall prevalence of 44.3%). The lower prevalence of Toxascaris leonina in the urban area (8.0%) compared to the rural area (59.6%) raises the question of whether rodent paratenic hosts play a major role for the population dynamics of this species.