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Parasites & Vectors

Open Access

Occurrence of Hepatozoon spp. in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Romania

  • MS Ilie1,
  • M Imre1Email author,
  • K Imre1,
  • I Hotea1,
  • S Morariu1,
  • D Sorescu1,
  • S Andrei1,
  • C Mariş2 and
  • G Dărăbuş1
Parasites & Vectors20147(Suppl 1):O33

Published: 1 April 2014


Positive SampleRabiesPotential VectorCommon OccurrencePrevious Survey

Hepatozoon is an apicomplexan parasite of carnivores transmitted by the tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus trough ingestion. Infections in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) have been recorded in several parts of the world, including European countries, with variable prevalence values.

The study aimed to investigate the occurrence of Hepatozoon spp. in red foxes originating from two counties (Arad and Timiş) of Western Romania.

Fresh/coagulated blood samples from 28 red foxes, killed in sanitary hunting during the routine rabies monitoring, were molecularly analyzed by a conventional PCR using the primers Hep F and Hep R for the presence of Hepatozoon spp.

Overall, 11/28 (39.2%) investigated samples contained the DNA of the parasite. Most of the positive samples were from Arad County (8/17), while in Timiş County only 3 out of 11 foxes tested were positive.

Occurrence of Hepatozoon canis was reported in Romania in dogs but investigations in wildlife were not performed.

The relatively high prevalence value of the infection recorded in the current survey can be related to the common occurrence of the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) in the area, documented by previous surveys.

The high prevalence of the parasite among red foxes confirms the presence of sylvatic cycle, highlights the role of wildlife as reservoirs and potential vectors for the infection in the screened region and also the emerging of this pathogen agent in the country.

This is the first report of Hepatozoon spp. infection in red foxes from Romania. The findings support the global changing in vector borne diseases expansion.


this study was financially supported by CNCS Grant TE_277_116/2010.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, BUASVM Timişoara, Romania
Department of Forestry, Faculty of Horticulture and Forestry, BUASVM Timişoara, Romania


© Ilie et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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