[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is considered one of the main reservoir of Trichinella spp. in Europe. As limited information on Trichinella infection in wildlife of Hungary is available, 2116 red foxes, representing more than 3% of the estimated fox population of the country, were screened to detect Trichinella larvae by a digestion method. Trichinella larvae from the 35 positive foxes were identified by a multiplex PCR as Trichinella britovi (30 isolates, 85.7%), Trichinella spiralis (4 isolates, 11.4%), and Trichinella pseudospiralis (1 isolate, 2.9%). The true mean intensity of T. britovi, T. spiralis and T. pseudospiralis larvae in lower forelimb muscles was 23.6, 3.5 and 13.5larvae/g, respectively. T. spiralis was detected only in the southern and eastern regions. The non-encapsulated T. pseudospiralis was recorded for the first time in Hungary. Although the overall true prevalence of Trichinella infection in foxes was only 1.8% (95% confidence interval, CI=1.5-2.1%), the spatial analysis reveals different risk regions. In the north-eastern counties bordering Slovakia and Ukraine (21% of the Hungarian territory), the true prevalence of Trichinella infection is significantly higher than that observed in other regions (6.0%, CI=4.8-7.1%). In the southern counties bordering Croatia, Serbia and Romania (41% of the Hungarian territory), the true prevalence of Trichinella infection is moderate (1.4%, CI=1.0-1.8%). In the north-western and central counties (38% of Hungarian territory), the prevalence of Trichinella infection is significantly lower (0.2%, CI=0.1-0.4%) than that of the other regions. Based on the statistical analysis and the evaluation of epidemiological data, none of the counties can be considered free of Trichinella infection. In the past decade, Trichinella infection has been detected only in few backyard pigs, and only few wild boar-related autochthonous infections in humans were described. Nevertheless, these results highlight the need of the maintenance of a strict monitoring and control programmes on Trichinella infection in farmed and hunted animals of Hungary.