Open Access Open Badges Research article

Seroreactivity to Dirofilaria antigens in people from different areas of Serbia

Suzana A Tasić-Otašević12*, Simona V Gabrielli3, Aleksandar V Tasić2, Nataša L MiladinovićTasić12, Jovana T Kostić1, Aleksandra M Ignjatović4, Lidija D Popović Dragonjić5, Zoran G Milošević4, Valentina S Arsić-Arsenijević6 and Gabriella A Cancrini3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, 81, Bul. Dr. Zorana Djindjica, 18000 Nis, Serbia

2 Center of Microbiology and Parasitology, Institute of Public health Nis, 50, Bul. Dr. Zorana Djindjica, 18000 Nis, Serbia

3 Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Piazza le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy

4 Department of Medical Statistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, 81, Bulvd Dr. Zorana Djindjica, 18000 Nis, Serbia

5 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Infectology, Clinical Centar of Niš, Clinic for Infectious Disease, University of Niš, Bull Dr Zorana Djindjica 81, 18000 Nis, Serbia

6 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, 1, Dr. Subotica, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:68  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-68

Published: 8 February 2014



The Northern part of Serbia is hyperendemic-endemic for canine dirofilarioses. Considering this fact, many human dirofilarial infections could be expected, however only about 30 cases in Serbia have been described until today. Aims of this survey were to assess the people reactivity to the antigens of D. repens and D. immitis and to identify risk factors for the contact exposure.


Investigation included sera taken from 297 people (179 women and 118 men) living in different areas of Serbia (Pančevo, Novi Sad, Zaječar, Leskovac, Vranje, Niš, Pirot). Sera were analysed by means of two indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) home-designed that use as antigens adult somatic/metabolic polyproteins of D. repens (DR) and D. immitis (DI), respectively. The results were elaborated using the statistical method of descriptive and quantitative analysis.


Significant differences by area in the reactivity of human sera to dirofilarial antigens were not observed (p = 0.056). A high seroreactivity was demonstrated in people from the towns of northern Serbia (Pančevo = 27,1%; Novi Sad = 16,3%), as well as in people from Zaječar (eastern Serbia = 15,8%) and Vranje (southern Serbia = 15,1%). No differences were evidenced between people reactivity to polyproteins of the two dirofilarial species, nor differences related to the gender of examinees. Factor risks evidenced were: i) place of residence; ii) spending work time outdoors during the mosquito season; iii) spending time outdoors and nearby rivers, lakes, swamps or canals; unespectedly, iv) cat owning.


The findings emerging from this investigation indicate that clinicians and public health authorities should pay greater attention to this zoonosis. Continuing education and training of physicians will greatly contribute to the knowledge of the actual impact of filarial worms on animal and public health, and allow for the planning of suitable measures to prevent the infections.

Human dirofilariosis; Sero-reactivity; Epidemiology; Dirofilaria immitis; Dirofilaria repens