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First evidence of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) as definitive host of Angiostrongylus chabaudi

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Angiostrongylus chabaudi (Strongylida, Angiostrongylidae) is a parasitic nematode described for the first time last century from the pulmonary arteries of six European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) in central Italy. Since then, this parasite remained practically unknown until recently, when immature A. chabaudi have been reported from one wildcat in Germany and two domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) in Italy. The present report describes the first record of A. chabaudi in Greece and, most importantly, the first known case of patent infection by A. chabaudi. The necropsy of a road-killed F. s. silvestris found near the lake Kerkini, in the municipality of Serres (Macedonia, Greece), revealed the presence of nematodes of both sexes in the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery of the heart. All parasites were mature adults and numerous eggs were present in the uteruses of females. The morphological characteristics of the parasites were consistent with those of A. chabaudi. Moreover, Angiostrongylus-like first stage larvae (L1) were present in the faeces of the animal that was negative for any other cardio-pulmonary parasite. Genetic examination of adult parasites and L1 confirmed the morphological identification as A. chabaudi. Histopathological examination of the lungs showed severe, multifocal to coalescing, chronic, interstitial granulomatous pneumonia due to the presence of adult parasites, larvae and eggs. These findings demonstrate for the first unequivocal time that this nematode reproduces in the European wildcat which should be ultimately considered a definitive host of A. chabaudi. Finally, the L1 of A. chabaudi are described here for the first time, opening new prospects for further studies on this neglected parasite.

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The authors would like to thank Prof. Bernardino Ragni (University of Perugia, Italy) for his contribution in identifying the species of the animal here examined.

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Correspondence to Anastasia Diakou.

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Diakou, A., Psalla, D., Migli, D. et al. First evidence of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) as definitive host of Angiostrongylus chabaudi . Parasitol Res 115, 1235–1244 (2016).

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