The first morphometric and phylogenetic perspective on molecular epidemiology of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato in stray dogs in a hyperendemic Middle East focus, northwestern Iran.
BACKGROUND: Hydatidosis is considered to be a neglected cyclo-zoonotic disease in Middle East countries particularly northwestern Iran which is caused by metacestode of tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato. Human hydatidosis is a high public health priority in the area, however there is little known from a morphometric and phylogenetic perspective on molecular epidemiology of adult Echinococcus spp. in Iranian stray dogs.
METHODS: 80 dogs (38 males and 42 females) were collected during June 2013 to April 2014 in northwestern Iran. The isolated parasites from each dog were distinguished by morphometric keys including small, large hook length and blade length. Subsequently, isolates were confirmed by sequencing of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene.
RESULTS: 16 (8 males and 8 females) (Prevalence 20%) out of 80 dogs were infected to genus Echinococcus. With regard to demographic factors, the frequency of parasitism in both male, female adults and their age groups showed no difference (P > 0.05). The phylogenetic analyses of cox1 sequences firmly revealed the 13 sheep strains (G1), one buffalo strain (G3), one camel strain (G6) and one mixed infection. The findings of rostellar hook morphology show an intraspecies variation range among G1 isolates. However, hook measurements in Echinococcus derived from G1 (sheep strain) were not a significant difference from those G6 and G3 strains. Six unique haplotypes were identified containing a high range of diversity (Haplotype diversity 0.873 vs. Nucleotide diversity 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: First presence of camel strain (G6) in this region seems to indicate that potential intermediate hosts play a secondary role in the maintenance of camel-dog biology. Current findings have heightened our knowledge about determination of Echinococcus prevalence, strains of taxonomy and genotypic trait of parasite in Iranian stray dogs which will also help in the development of strategies for monitoring and control of infected stray dogs in the area.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the the 4th Young Researcher Meeting, Münster, March 13-14, 2015)