Onchocerciasis caused by Onchocerca lupi: an emerging zoonotic infection. Systematic review

António J Santos Grácio, Joachim Richter, Anastasia Th Komnenou, Maria Amélia Grácio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Globalization has increased circulation of people, their food, livestock and pets in the world, and changes in the environment, climate and human behaviour have led to the rapid expansion of emerging infections throughout the world. One of the reasons of a new pathogen affecting humans is the passage from an animal to a human being. Onchocerca (O.) lupi, a filarial worm first described in a wolf in 1967, is an emerging pathogen which has been incriminated as the etiological agent for 205 canine, 2 feline and 18 human infections in Europe, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran and the USA. Most frequent findings in animals and humans are monolateral or asymmetrical variably painful subconjunctival swellings and nodules containing immature or mature worms affecting the eye and/or adjacent tissues accompanied by conjunctival hyperemia. Occasionally, subcutaneous nodules and masses affecting the spinal cord have been observed in humans. Diagnosis of O. lupi is achieved by microscopy of excised adult female worms which exhibit a particular cuticular structure and molecular analysis. Treatment consists in worm removal accompanied by antihelminthic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2401-2413
Number of pages13
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2015


  • Blackflies
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Ocular disease
  • Ocular lesions
  • Onchocerca lupi
  • Onchocerca spp
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Simuliidae
  • Vectors
  • Wolbachia sp
  • Zoonosis


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