Update on Dirofilaria immitis epidemiology in South America and Mexico: literature review
Dirofilaria immitis (Leidy, 1856; Raillet & Henry 1911) is a parasite that is widely disseminated around the globe, with a higher prevalence in warm, humid climates. The first report of its occurrence in South America is from 1878 in Brazil. At that time, reports were scarce and difficult to retrieve – therefore, gathering them will facilitate record-keeping over time. Four databases were searched (Scopus, MEDLINE, LILACS, and PubMed) and the search keywords were “Dirofilaria” or “heartworm” and the countries’ names. Four countries lacked reports (Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, and Uruguay) and other three (Suriname, Guyana, and Paraguay) had only old reports. Chile was the only country in which studies were conducted over time, and no infected dogs were registered. For the other six countries (Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil), reports showed that the infection frequency varied over time and with the surveyed area. Therefore, the information indicates that D. immitis is established, and veterinarians must institute preventive programs to optimally care for their patients and protect the health of their families.
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