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    Onchocerca lupi is a parasitic filarioid and the causative agent of canine ocular onchocercosis, a zoonotic disease of domestic dogs with sporadic reports in humans. A 13-year-old dog with no travel history outside of Israel was presented to an ophthalmology veterinary clinic in Israel with severe right ocular and periocular disease. After surgical exploration, thin helminths were removed from the dorsal sclera of the eye and identified as Onchocerca lupi by polymerase chain reaction according to the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1), reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase subunit 5 (nad5) and 12S rRNA genes. Phylogenetic trees and haplotype networks of the cox1 and nad5 genes confirmed the circulation of two genotypes: genotype 1 with worms from dogs, cats and humans from both the Old and New Worlds, and genotype 2 with specimens from Portugal and Spain. The Israeli sequences clustered in genotype 1 and were identical to O. lupi from the USA. Evidence of two genotypes separated geographically sheds light on the phylogeography and evolution of this zoonotic pathogen, and suggests a diverse pathology observed in different regions of the world.


    A Rojas, H Salant, D Yasur-Landau, H Tsarfati, G Baneth. First report of Onchocerca lupi from Israel and confirmation of two genotypes circulating among canine, feline and human hosts. Parasitology. 2020 Dec;147(14):1723-1727

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    PMID: 32829715

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