Dirofilariosis, a vector-borne disease caused by nematode parasites of the genus Dirofilaria, is an emerging zoonosis in northern Europe. We aimed to review and summarize the available data on emergence and presence of Dirofilaria repens in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. We reviewed epidemiological studies and descriptions of D. repens infections in humans and domestic dogs in the three Baltic countries. Based on the available literature and reports, the first D. repens finding in Latvia was made in 2008, the first in Lithuania in 2010, and the first in Estonia in 2012. Further findings were reported soon after the first reports. By the end of 2019, autochthonous human D. repens infections had been described from Latvia and Lithuania, and autochthonous canine D. repens infections from all three Baltic countries. No epidemiological studies estimating prevalence or incidence in humans were identified to be published from any of the three countries. In studies performed in Latvia and Lithuania, a substantial proportion of investigated dogs were reported positive for the parasite. Dirofilariosis is an emerging zoonosis in northern Europe, and the summarized data confirm that D. repens has become established and endemic in all three Baltic countries. Awareness about this should be increased among medical doctors, veterinarians, and the general public. Managing this zoonotic disease is a public health challenge that requires a One Health approach, communication across the sectors, and international collaboration.
Reference: Deksne G, Jokelainen P, Oborina V, Lassen B, Akota I, Kutanovaite O, Zaleckas L, Cīrule D, Tupīts A, Pimanovs V, Talijunas A, Krūmiņa A. The Zoonotic Parasite Dirofilaria repens Emerged in the Baltic Countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 2008-2012 and Became Established and Endemic in a Decade. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2021 Jan;21(1):1-5. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2020.2651.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)