The hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum: An emerging public health risk in Australian tropical rainforests and Indigenous communities
AuthorSmout, FA; Skerratt, LF; Butler, JRA; Johnson, CN; Congdon, BC; Thompson, RCA
Source TitleOne Health
University of Melbourne Author/sSkerratt, Lee
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSmout, F. A., Skerratt, L. F., Butler, J. R. A., Johnson, C. N., Congdon, B. C. & Thompson, R. C. A. (2017). The hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum: An emerging public health risk in Australian tropical rainforests and Indigenous communities. ONE HEALTH, 3, pp.66-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2017.04.002.
Access StatusOpen Access
Ancylostoma ceylanicum is the common hookworm of domestic dogs and cats throughout Asia, and is an emerging but little understood public health risk in tropical northern Australia. We investigated the prevalence of A. ceylanicum in soil and free-ranging domestic dogs at six rainforest locations in Far North Queensland that are Indigenous Australian communities and popular tourist attractions within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. By combining PCR-based techniques with traditional methods of hookworm species identification, we found the prevalence of hookworm in Indigenous community dogs was high (96.3% and 91.9% from necropsy and faecal samples, respectively). The majority of these infections were A. caninum. We also observed, for the first time, the presence of A. ceylanicum infection in domestic dogs (21.7%) and soil (55.6%) in an Indigenous community. A. ceylanicum was present in soil samples from two out of the three popular tourist locations sampled. Our results contribute to the understanding of dogs as a public health risk to Indigenous communities and tourists in the Wet Tropics. Dog health needs to be more fully addressed as part of the Australian Government's commitments to "closing the gap" in chronic disease between Indigenous and other Australians, and encouraging tourism in similar locations.
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