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PAGES: DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760170226 Full paper
Angiostrongylus spp. in the Americas: geographical and chronological distribution of definitive hosts versus disease reports

Romina Valente1,+, Maria del Rosario Robles2, Graciela T Navone2, Julia I Diaz2

1Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tropical, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina
2Centro Científico Tecnológico La Plata (CONICET-UNLP), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores, Buenos Aires, Argentina


BACKGROUND Angiostrongyliasis is an infection caused by nematode worms of the genus Angiostrongylus. The adult worms inhabit the pulmonary arteries, heart, bronchioles of the lung, or mesenteric arteries of the caecum of definitive host. Of a total of 23 species of Angiostrongylus cited worldwide, only nine were registered in the American Continent. Two species, A. cantonensis and A. costaricensis, are considered zoonoses when the larvae accidentally parasitise man.

OBJECTIVES In the present study, geographical and chronological distribution of definitive hosts of Angiostrongylus in the Americas is analysed in order to observe their relationship with disease reports. Moreover, the role of different definitive hosts as sentinels and dispersers of infective stages is discussed.

METHODS The study area includes the Americas. First records of Angiostrongylus spp. in definitive or accidental hosts were compiled from the literature. Data were included in tables and figures and were matched to geographic information systems (GIS).

FINDINGS Most geographical records of Angiostrongylus spp. both for definitive and accidental hosts belong to tropical areas, mainly equatorial zone. In relation to those species of human health importance, as A. cantonensis and A. costaricensis, most disease cases indicate a coincidence between the finding of definitive host and disease record. However, in some geographic site there are gaps between report of definitive host and disease record. In many areas, human populations have invaded natural environments and their socioeconomic conditions do not allow adequate medical care.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS Consequently, many cases for angiostrongyliasis could have gone unreported or unrecognised throughout history and in the nowadays. Moreover, the population expansion and the climatic changes invite to make broader and more complete range of observation on the species that involve possible epidemiological risks. This paper integrates and shows the current distribution of Angiostrongylus species in America, being this information very relevant for establishing prevention, monitoring and contingency strategies in the region.

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Financial support: Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2010-0924), Universidad Nacional de La Plata (No. 753), Consejo Nacional de Promoción Científica y Técnica (PUE CEPAVE 2016).
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Received 07 June 2017
Accepted 07 November 2017