Influence of urbanization on the epidemiology of intestinal helminths of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Geneva, Switzerland
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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.
KeywordsCanis Urbanization Zone Paratenic Host Intestinal Helminth Echinococcus Multilocularis
The study was funded by the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science (EU FAIR Projekt CT97-3515/BBW no. 97.0586) and the European Commission (Project Echinorisk, contract QLK2-CT-2001-01995/BBW no. 00.0586-2). This publication represents part of the dissertation of Leslie Reperant, veterinarian.
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