Public Health and
Prevention of dirofilariasis in canines
will go a long way in reducing dirofilariasis infection in humans.
Image from SUNET Animal Photos: ftp://ftp.sunet.se/pub/pictures/animals/.
Protection against Dirofilaria
infection can be achieved by avoiding mosquito bites in known endemic areas.
Mosquito repellants, netting, and long pants will be effective in this
Since the distribution of human
dirofilariasis infection in the world roughly parallels the distribution
of infection in the animal hosts, the most effective means of prevention
is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of infection in the animal hosts.
This strategy will be most effective in the species, D. immitis, which
is the infectious agent of heartworm in dogs, and to a lesser extent cats.
There are three drugs that can be given orally to domestic dogs and cats
for the prevention of heartworm, including Ivermectin (Heartguard), Milbemycin
oxime (Interceptor), and Diethylcarbamzaine (DEC). Diligent and widespread
use of these medications will be an effective means of reducing the rate
of dirofilariasis in the parasite's natural hosts, and as a result, in
humans as well.
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