Seroprevalences of Rickettsia conorii, Ehrlichia canis and Coxiella burnetii in Dogs from Montenegro
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The incidence of vector-borne zoonoses has been increasing in Europe as a result of global climate change, and rickettsioses are a significant etiologic entity among these infections. The objective of this study was to investigate the seroprevalences of Rickettsia conorii, Ehrlichia canis and Coxiella burnetii in dogs in Montenegro.
The seroepidemiological study covered 259 dogs, of which 155 were owned dogs suspected of infection with agents of rickettsial aetiology from the continental (Podgorica) or five coastal municipalities of Montenegro (Budva, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Ulcinj and Bar), and 104 dogs were from a public shelter in Podgorica. The presence of specific IgG antibodies against R. conorii was analysed using a commercial indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, and the presence of antibodies against E. canis and C. burnetii was analysed using commercial indirect immunofluorescence tests (IFAT).
Seroprevalences of 73.36, 19.3 and 1.16% were determined for R. conorii, E. canis and C. burnetii, respectively. R. conorii was significantly more prevalent (χ2 = 14.53; p < 0.001) in owned dogs (81.93%) than in dogs from the public shelter (60.6%), while E. canis was more prevalent (χ2 = 12.31; p < 0.001) in dogs from the public shelter (29.81%) than in owned dogs (12.26%). Coinfection with two pathogens was determined in 40 (15.44%) dogs, and the prevalence of R. conorii/E. canis (χ2 = 4.23; p < 0.05) was greater in dogs from the public shelter (20.19%) than in owned dogs (10.97%).
The prevailing evidence from this study shows that dogs from Montenegro are exposed to pathogens of veterinary and public health importance. This calls for the One Health approach to sensitise the public on the risks of zoonoses from dogs and to formulate policies and strategies to mitigate their spread and safeguard public health.
KeywordsRickettsia conorii Ehrlichia canis Coxiella burnetii Dog Antibodies Montenegro
We would like to express our gratitude to all the veterinarians and the managers of the public dog shelter in Podgorica who provided dog blood samples for this study.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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