Cutaneous dirofilariosis 

transmitted by mosquitoes

Cutaneous dirofilariosis

Cutaneous dirofilariosis is caused by Dirofilaria repens, a pathogenic worm transmitted by the bites of mosquitoes. Both pets and people are at risk of being bitten and infected. A single mosquito bite is enough to trigger the infection. The worm can grow under the dog's skin causing nodules (from 0.5 to 3 cm) which are most often painless and not itchy. Since most of the dogs show no sign of the infection, the disease often remain silent. 

The patients that develop skin nodules may need a surgery to extract the worm and to avoid health complications.  

Prevention strategy includes: 

• Combined use of a repellent parasiticide with proven efficacy against mosquitoes and chemoprophylaxis using macrocyclic lactones as per your veterinarian advice. 

• Remove mosquito favorite developing sites near your home, such as stagnant waters. 

Geographical distribution

The regional distribution of this skin vector-borne disease in dogs is consistent with climatic conditions for development of the worms and of the competent mosquitoes. Therefore, Dirofilaria repens has increased in prevalence in areas where it has already been reported and its distribution range has expanded into new areas of Europe for example.  

Globalization, climate change and expansion of vectors are factors favouring the spread of canine vector-borne diseases. If you want to know the vector-borne diseases present in your area, use the real-time world map!  

Discover more about the importance of cutaneous dirofilariosis and the spreading of vector-borne diseases with Pr. Laura Kramer and Pr. Marco Genchi (University of Parma – Italy).

Cutaneous dirofilariosis  map

Map legend: Autochtonous * Imported ** Unknown ***
* Autochtonous cases are living in endemic area or have no known travel history from endemic area ** Imported cases have a reported travel history from endemic area *** Cases with unknown travel history

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