Dirofilariasis is an emerging zoonosis (supported by climate change) in Central Europe. Human infections are usually caused by Dirofilaria repens and Dirofilaria immitis with mediation of mosquito vectors. Aims of this publication were to report our dirofilariasis cases, and to summarize Hungarian epidemiological data by reviewing literature.
Methods and results
We present five (four ophthalomological, one subcutaneous) cases observed within a 2-year period in Southern Hungary. Ages of infected patients were between 31 and 74 years. First case during pregnancy is also reported. There was no travel history in the anamnesis of patients which could explain acquisition of the infection. Moving, intact worms eliminated by surgical interventions were identified on the basis of morphological features as D. repens. Since the first report of human case, 115 further episodes (in addition to ours) were diagnosed in Hungary. Mean age of the patients was 47 years. Reviewing national reports, the ratio of subcutaneous infections was higher than that of the ocular ones (66 and 45, respectively). Evaluation of the territorial distribution of human episodes revealed that most infections occurred in patients living in the Danube–Tisza interfluvial region and eastern part of the country. However, sporadic cases were also found in western counties during 2014.
Most of the Hungarian dirofilariasis cases were autochthonous infections. Occurrence in the western counties may suggest the spreading of this emerging zoonosis to these areas. Comprehensive monitoring and data analysis are desirable, therefore reporting the epidemiologic data in the case of human infections should be made mandatory.