Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 12, pp 3743–3751 | Cite as

The host age related occurrence of Alaria alata in wild canids in Latvia

  • Zanda OzoliņaEmail author
  • Guna Bagrade
  • Gunita Deksne
Original Paper


The trematode Alaria alata has a complex life cycle in which carnivore mammals may become infected by feeding on mesocercariae-infected, second intermediate hosts or paratenic hosts. Afterwards, young flukes migrate through various organs of the definitive host, including the diaphragm and the lungs, before reaching the small intestine. The aim of the present study was to establish the prevalence and infection intensity of A. alata in carnivore mammals, the host age and related occurrence of different A. alata development stages in particular animals in Latvia. Overall, samples from 992 animals (539 red foxes, 411 raccoon dogs and 42 grey wolves) were examined using sedimentation and counting techniques to observe the presence of A. alata metacercariae and adult trematodes in each particular host. The present study, based on data collected over five hunting seasons (2010/2011–2014/2015), is a comprehensive study on the circulation of A. alata in wild canids in Latvia. A. alata was present in all species examined and the overall prevalence reached 86.2%. A significant positive correlation was observed between the burden of A. alata metacercariae and adult trematodes in raccoon dogs (rs = 0.27, p = 0.001) and red foxes (rs = 0.17, p = 0.0002). A significantly higher (p = 0.003) A. alata metacercariae mean intensity was observed in juvenile raccoon dogs compared to the one observed in adult raccoon dogs and red foxes from both age groups. The presence of both A. alata development stages in a particular animal concurrently and at different intensity levels may indicate primary infection and re-cured infection of the host.


Alaria alata Metacercariae Adult trematodes Wild canids Latvia 



We would like to thank the staff of the Institute for Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment “BIOR”, the Latvian State Forest Research Institute “SILAVA” and the hunters, for their cooperation and positive attitude towards studying sylvatic carnivores. The authors would also like to thank the State Forest Service for providing information and estimates on the population size of carnivorous mammals. We are also grateful to Sabīne Birzgale of the JSC Latvia’s State Forest GEO service for drawing up various maps of Latvia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food Safety Animal Health and Environment “BIOR”RigaLatvia
  2. 2.Latvian State Forest Research Institute “SILAVA”SalaspilsLatvia
  3. 3.Faculty of BiologyUniversity of LatviaRigaLatvia

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