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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380479

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Dipylidium caninum infection in dogs and humans in Bishoftu town, Ethiopia

item GUTEMA, FANTA - Addis Ababa University
item YOHANNES, GOITOM - Tigray Agricultural Research Institute
item ABDI, RETA - Long Island University
item ABUNA, FUFA - Addis Ababa University
item AYANA, DINKA - Addis Ababa University
item WAKTOLE, HIKA - Addis Ababa University
item AMENU, KEBEDE - Addis Ababa University
item HIKO, ADEM - Ethiopia Haramaya University
item Agga, Getahun

Submitted to: Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2020
Publication Date: 12/22/2020
Citation: Gutema, F.D., Yohannes, G.W., Abdi, R.D., Abuna, F., Ayana, D., Waktole, H., Amenu, K., Hiko, A., Agga, G.E. 2020. Dipylidium caninum infection in dogs and humans in Bishoftu town, Ethiopia. Diseases. 9(1).

Interpretive Summary: Dogs can transmit many pathogens to humans. Dipylidium caninum is a common tapeworm of dogs and cats which can occasionally infect humans. Fleas are the required intermediate hosts for the development of the parasite. People are infected through incidental ingestion of infected fleas carrying the larval stage. The disease is distributed worldwide and children are most frequently infected, possibly due to their close contact with flea-infested pets. Most infections are asymptomatic but mild intestinal disturbances including itching in the perianal area may occur both in the dogs and children. It is commonly noticeable by the presence of the parasitic larvae in the feces. Most findings in children are based on case reports. In this study we examined contemporaneously the presence of the parasite in the dogs and children living in the same city. The result showed that while one in five dogs were infected with the parasite, it was detected only in one child. This suggests that although the parasite can be common in dogs, it is rare in children. However, the risk for human infection can be controlled in the pets through regular treatments and good hygiene.

Technical Abstract: Dogs are reservoirs of many zoonotic diseases. In Ethiopia, majority of owned dogs are semi-stray freely roaming in the community. Studies reporting dog borne zoonotic diseases are scarce in Ethiopia. This study was conducted to assess Dipylidium caninum infection in dogs and in children with gastrointestinal complaints in Bishoftu town, Oromia. We collected 384 fecal samples from dogs presented to veterinary teaching hospital and 259 stool samples from children presented to Bishoftu hospital for clinical examination. Samples were first macroscopically examined for the presence of proglotids followed by microscopic examination for the presence of eggs with direct smear following flotation technique. The prevalence of D. caninum was 21% (95% CI: 16.6-24.9) in dogs. Although not statistically significant (P>0.05), higher prevalence was detected in adult (11.9%), local breed (17.7%) and male (12.6%). Dipylidium caninum was detected in a stool sample obtained from a three-years old child (0.4%, 1/259). This study showed that although the prevalence of D. caninum in the dogs is high, it is rare in children. Although the prevalence in children is negligible in this study, the high proportion of infected dogs can pose a significant risk of infection in the general human population. Public health risk can be reduced by eliminating semi-roaming of owned dogs and proper management of dogs with regular deworming and prevention of environmental contamination with dog feces. Similarly, raising public awareness about dog borne zoonoses and avoiding contact with dog feces are also important.