Korean J Parasitol.  2014 Dec;52(6):691-694. 10.3347/kjp.2014.52.6.691.

Prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis Infection in Stray Cats by Nested PCR in Korea

  • 1Laboratory of Veterinary Internal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Korea. songkh@cnu.ac.kr
  • 2Division of Malaria & Parasitic Diseases, Korea National Institute of Health, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Osong-eup, Cheongwon-gun, Chungbuk 363-951, Korea.
  • 3Department of Statistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 156-756, Korea.
  • 4Laboratory of Veterinary Infectious Disease, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to conduct a survey of Dirofilaria immitis infection among stray cats in Korea using nested PCR. We included 235 stray cats (121 females and 114 males) and evaluated each for the presence of feline heartworm infection. Blood samples were collected from 135 cats in Daejeon, 50 cats in Seoul, and 50 cats from Gyeonggi-do (Province). Of the 235 DNA samples, 14 (6.0%) were positive for D. immitis. The prevalence of infection in male cats (8/114, 7.0%) tended to be higher than that in female cats (6/121, 5.0%), but the difference was not statistically significant. In each location, 8, 2, and 4 cats were positive for infection, respectively, based on DNA testing. No significant differences in the prevalence were observed among the geographic regions, although the rate of infection was higher in Gyeonggi-do (8.0%) than Daejeon (5.9%) and Seoul (4.0%). We submitted 7 of the 14 D. immitis DNA-positive samples for sequencing analysis. All samples corresponded to partial D. immitis cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene sequences with 99% homology to the D. immitis sequence deposited in GenBank (accession no. FN391553). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first survey using nested PCR to analyze the prevalence of D. immitis in stray cats in Korea.


Dirofilaria immitis; prevalence; nested PCR; stray cat

MeSH Terms

Cat Diseases/*epidemiology/*parasitology
DNA, Helminth/chemistry/genetics
Dirofilaria immitis/genetics/*isolation & purification
Electron Transport Complex IV/genetics
Molecular Sequence Data
Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods
Sequence Analysis, DNA
Sequence Homology
DNA, Helminth
Electron Transport Complex IV
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