Feline lungworms in Greece
Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Nematoda, Metastrongyloidea) causes verminous pneumonia in cats worldwide. This study evaluated the seroprevalence of A. abstrusus antibodies in 220 stray and free-roaming cats from insular (Mykonos, Crete, Skopelos) and continental (Thessaloniki, Attica) Greece. The results were compared with morphological and biomolecular identification of first-stage larvae (L1) in faeces. Positive cats were observed in all 5 areas: 13/97 (13.4%), 1/32 (3.1%), 7/26 (26.9%), 3/18 (16.7%) and 5/47 (10.6%) cats tested positive for A. abstrusus L1 by Baermann examination, and 33/97 (34.0%), 7/32 (21.9%), 6/26 (23.1%), 3/18 (16.7%) and 11/47 (23.4%) were seropositive, in Mykonos, Crete, Skopelos, Thessaloniki and Attica, respectively. Troglostrongylus brevior L1 were found in 12/97 (12.4%), 3/26 (11.5%) and 2/47 (4.3%) cats from Mykonos, Skopelos and Attica respectively. Six of the 220 cats (2.7%), i.e. 4/97 (4.1%) from Mykonos and 2/26 (7.7%) from Skopelos, shed L1 of both A. abstrusus and T. brevior. Sixty samples were ELISA-positive (27.3%, 95% CI: 21.5-33.7%), of which 21 (35%) tested copromicroscopically positive (19 monospecific infections and 2 mixed with Troglostrongylus brevior), and 5 were positive for T. brevior L1 only. Among seronegative cats (n = 140), L1 of A. abstrusus were additionally detected in 8 (5.7% out of 140) cats (i.e. 4 monospecific infections and 4 mixed with T. brevior), and in 6 (4.3% out of 140) cats, L1 of T. brevior as monospecific infection were detected. This study confirms the presence of lungworms in Greece and suggests that the number of cats infected with/exposed to metastrongylids is higher than detected by faecal examinations.