Prevalence of Giardia spp. in dogs and humans in northern and central Italy
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Despite the public health importance and the possible zoonotic role of Giardia, epidemiological survey on the prevalence of giardiosis in Italy are lacking and fragmentary, compared to other countries. A cross-sectional coprological study on giardiosis was carried out in central and northern Italy in dogs and humans with the aim to providing data about prevalence and potential risk factors. A total of 616 dogs (436 from central and 180 from northern Italy) and 300 humans (central Italy) were examined. The overall prevalence was 21.3% in dogs and 2% in humans. No differences were noted between dog’s prevalence in central and northern Italy (22.2% and 19.4% respectively). The major risk factors for giardiosis in dogs were represented by density of dogs and age, i.e. dogs kept in kennel (PR=2.13, APe=53%) and younger than 1 year (PR=1.99, APe=50%) showed higher prevalence than others. Higher prevalence was noted also in dogs with gastrointestinal symptoms (PR=1.86%, APe=46%). Looking forward to obtain information on these Giardia genotypes, all the measures for the prevention of giardiosis, screening of dogs for giardiosis, particularly puppies, even those with no symptoms, and their treatment to prevent eventual human infection is highly recommended.