Public information about prevention of zoonoses should be based on the perceived problem by the public and should be adapted to regional circumstances. Growing fox populations have led to increasing concern about human alveolar echinococcosis, which is caused by the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. In order to plan information campaigns, public knowledge about this zoonotic tapeworm was assessed.
By means of representative telephone interviews (N = 2041), a survey of public knowledge about the risk and the prevention of alveolar echinococcosis was carried out in the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Switzerland in 2004.
For all five questions, significant country-specific differences were found. Fewer people had heard of E. multilocularis in the Czech Republic (14%) and France (18%) compared to Germany (63%) and Switzerland (70%). The same effect has been observed when only high endemic regions were considered (Czech Republic: 20%, France: 17%, Germany: 77%, Switzerland: 61%). In France 17% of people who knew the parasite felt themselves reasonably informed. In the other countries, the majority felt themselves reasonably informed (54–60%). The percentage that perceived E. multilocularis as a high risk ranged from 12% (Switzerland) to 43% (France). In some countries promising measures as deworming dogs (Czech Republic, Switzerland) were not recognized as prevention options.
Our results and the actual epidemiological circumstances of AE call for proactive information programs. This communication should enable the public to achieve realistic risk perception, give clear information on how people can minimize their infection risk, and prevent exaggerated reactions and anxiety.
Austria is part of the classical area of central Europe to which alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is endemic. Annual incidences in Austria were 2.4 and 2.8 cases/100,000 population during 1991–2000 and 2001–2010, respectively. Hence, the registration of 13 new AE patients in 2011 was unexpected. Increasing fox populations and past AE underreporting might have caused this increase.
Alveolar echinococcosis; incidence; Austria; helminth; parasites; Echinococcus multilocularis; tapeworm
Surveillance for alveolar echinococcosis in central Europe was initiated in 1998. On a voluntary basis, 559 patients were reported to the registry. Most cases originated from rural communities in regions from eastern France to western Austria; single cases were reported far away from the disease-“endemic” zone throughout central Europe. Of 210 patients, 61.4% were involved in vocational or part-time farming, gardening, forestry, or hunting. Patients were diagnosed at a mean age of 52.5 years; 78% had symptoms. Alveolar echinococcosis primarily manifested as a liver disease. Of the 559 patients, 190 (34%) were already affected by spread of the parasitic larval tissue. Of 408 (73%) patients alive in 2000, 4.9% were cured. The increasing prevalence of Echinococcus multilocularis in foxes in rural and urban areas of central Europe and the occurrence of cases outside the alveolar echinococcosis–endemic regions suggest that this disease deserves increased attention.
alveolar echinococcosis; alveolar hydatid disease; Echinococcus multilocularis; epidemiology; geographic distribution; risk factors; clinical characteristics; case registry; research
In recent years, increases in the urban fox population have been observed in many countries of the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, Echinococcus multilocularis has entered the urban environment. Because of a possible increased risk for alveolar echinococcosis, intervention strategies need to be evaluated. In Zürich, Switzerland, 50 praziquantel-containing baits per km2 were distributed monthly in six 1-km2 bait areas and one 6-km2 bait area from April 2000 through October 2001. The proportion of E. multilocularis coproantigen–positive fox fecal samples collected remained unchanged in six control areas but decreased significantly in the 1-km2 bait areas (from 38.6% to 5.5%) and in the 6-km2 bait area (from 66.7% to 1.8%). E. multilocularis prevalence in the intermediate host Arvicola terrestris also decreased significantly in baited areas. This controlled baiting study shows that a pronounced reduction of E. multilocularis egg contamination is feasible in urban areas where the organism is highly endemic.
Virchow proved that the disease “alveolar colloid” was caused by an Echinococcus sp.
Alveolar echinococcosis, which is caused by the larval stage of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, is one of the most dangerous parasitic diseases. It is endemic in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere and an emerging health problem in the People’s Republic of China. In Europe and North America, human cases are rare, but concomitant with an increase in the population of the final host, the red fox, an increase of human infections is expected. Rudolf Virchow, the father of the concept of cellular pathology, determined in the 1850s that an Echinococcus sp. was the causative agent of this enigmatic emerging disease. In his famous publication in 1855, he described the clinical course of the disease, its macroscopic aspects, and histopathologic findings in detail. He also identified the disease formerly known as alveolar colloid of the liver to be an infection with the larval stage of an Echinococcus sp.
Rudolf Virchow; alveolar echinococcosis; Echinococcus multilocularis; pathology; infectious diseases; historical review
Echinococcus multilocularis, the causative agent of human alveolar echinococcosis, is reported for the first time in Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Hungary. This parasite may be spreading eastward because the population of foxes has increased because of human interventions, and this spread may result in the emergence of alveolar echinococcosis in Central Eastern Europe.
Echinococcus multilocularis; red fox; Hungary; Central Eastern Europe; alveolar echinococcosis; emerging zoonosis; dispatch
Recently, extensions of the range of Echinococcus multilocularis in Europe and North America and drastic increases in fox populations in Europe put an increasing proportion of the human population at risk of alveolar echinococcosis. To obtain data on the local infection pressure, studies of the prevalence of the parasite in the animals that transmit the parasite, foxes, dogs, and cats, are urgently required. Such investigations, however, have been hampered by the need for necropsy of the host animal to specifically diagnose infection with the parasite. In this study, a nested PCR and an improved method for DNA extraction were developed to allow the sensitive and specific diagnosis of E. multilocularis infections directly from diluted fecal samples from foxes. The target sequence for amplification is part of the E. multilocularis mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. The specificity of the method was 100% when it was tested against 18 isolates (metacestodes and adult worms) of 11 cestode species, including E. granulosus. The sensitivity of the method was evaluated by adding egg suspensions and individual eggs to samples of diluted feces from uninfected foxes. The presence of one egg was sufficient to give a specific signal. To confirm the PCR results, an internal probe which hybridized only with E. multilocularis amplification products but not with the DNA of other cestodes was constructed. In order to investigate the applicability of this method for epidemiological studies, 250 wild foxes from a area in southern Germany where echinococcosis is highly endemic were examined by both necropsy and PCR of rectal contents. The sensitivity correlated with the parasites’ number and stage of maturity. It ranged from 100% (>1,000 gravid worms) to 70% (<10 nongravid worms). On the basis of positive PCR results for 165 foxes, the sensitivity of the traditional and widely used necropsy method was found to be not higher than 76%. We therefore present this PCR system as an alternative method for the routine diagnosis of E. multilocularis in carnivores.
Echinococcus multilocularis is a rare infestation in the world with a particularly increased incidence mainly in South America, Central Europe and Asia. Progression of alveolar Echinococcosis is more aggressive that can metastasize to lungs, brain and bones however brain involvement is usually rare with an incidence about 1%.
We report a 23-year-old man with a cerebellar Echinococcosis multilocularis mimicking a metastatic cerebellar tumor. Suboccipital craniotomy was performed for gross total removal of the tumor. Histopathological specimens confirmed the diagnosis of Echinococcosis multilocularis.
Radical surgical excision should be recommended for single Echinococcosis multilocularis lesions particularly at infratentorial localization.
Alveolar hydatid cysts; cerebellum; echinococcus; surgery; tumor
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the accidental ingestion of the eggs of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. AE occurs frequently in rural western China due to the poor levels of hygiene, the close contact of people with dogs, and the lack of appropriate facilities for the correct and rapid diagnosis of the disease.
We describe a case of a patient with hepatic AE, and AE metastases of the brain. She was mistakenly diagnosed with suspected undifferentiated metastatic cancer of the liver and brain, and with a pulmonary bacterial infection, but was subsequently correctly diagnosed during a follow-up field survey for echinococcosis. The diagnosis of brain AE was confirmed by pathological examination of tissue biopsies removed during neurosurgery. We also briefly describe other symptomatic and asymptomatic AE cases, identified by chance, likely due to the inadequate facilities available in rural communities in China for AE diagnosis and management, since the rapid and accurate diagnosis of metastatic AE requires a high level of expertise in the appropriate diagnostic procedures.
This report highlights the necessity for an upgrade in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of AE in rural China.
Alveolar echinococcosis; Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region; The People's Republic of China; metastatic lesions in the brain; diagnosis; albendazole treatment
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE), which is caused by ingestion of eggs of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, is the most potentially lethal parasitic infection because of its tendency to invade and proliferate in the liver and the difficulty in treatment. This article describes a case of alveolar echinococcosis found in Ateles geoffroyi in Mashhad, Iran. The cysts were characterized as an alveolar structure, composed of numerous small vesicles in liver, abdominal cavity, retroperitoneum and lungs. A characteristic feature of these vesicles was its exogenous tumor-like proliferation. These cysts were filled with numerous protoscoleces suggesting a potential role of this monkey in cycle of transmission. Up to now, this is probably the first report of alveolar echinococcosis in A. geoffroyi in the world.
Alveolar echinococcosis; Ateles geoffroyi; Iran
Alveolar echinococcosis is one of the most important lethal zoonotic helminth infections in the northern hemisphere. Currently, the threat to public health is increasing, as evidenced by the rising prevalence rate of alveolar echinococcosis, as well as the invasion of urban areas by infected wild foxes. This threat is further increased due to the involvement of pet dogs, and probably cats, as emerging sources of infection. These increased threats to public health also have associated economic risks; therefore, there is a need for effective and sustainable methods of control. In this paper, initiatives to control alveolar echinococcosis by targeting its definitive hosts through anthelmintic baiting campaigns initiated by local residents who used local resources for bait production, distribution and collection of fecal samples for diagnosis are described. Further, when such distribution programs are coupled with the use of GIS-based maps, the optimum distribution of bait was obtained. These programs have also included the use of intravital diagnostic analyses of infection rates, which have been overseen by the Forum on Environment and Animals (FEA), and also allowed a nationwide monitoring of echinococcosis in difinitive hosts. In addition, a government initiative requiring mandatory reporting of echinococcosis in dogs to health authorities was recently initiated in Japan. Overall, the results of this study have shown that use of collaborative control initiatives targeting zoonotic agents of alveolar echinococcosis can be an effective method for reducing the threat of lethal echinococcosis in the northern hemisphere.
alveolar echinococcosis; anthelmintic baiting; endogenous development; northern hemisphere; zoonosis
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) or hydatid disease is known to be cosmopolitan in its global distribution, while alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a much rarer though more pathogenic hepatic parasitic disease restricted to the northern hemisphere. Both forms of human echinococcosis are known to occur on the Tibetan Plateau, but the epidemiological characteristics remain poorly understood. In our current study, abdominal ultrasound screening programs for echinococcosis were conducted in thirty-one Tibetan townships in Ganze and Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures of northwest Sichuan Province during 2001-2008. Hospital records (1992-2006) in a major regional treatment centre for echinococcosis in Sichuan Province were also reviewed. Of 10,186 local residents examined by portable ultrasound scan, 645 (6.3%) were diagnosed with echinococcosis: a prevalence of 3.2% for CE, 3.1% for AE and 0.04% for dual infection (both CE and AE). Human cystic and alveolar echinococcosis in pastoral areas was highly co-endemic, in comparison to much lower prevalences in semi-pastoral or farming regions. The high ultrasound prevalence in these co-endemic areas in northwest Sichuan Province was also reflected in the hospital study, and hospital records furthermore indicated another possible highly co-endemic focus in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, located at the border of northwest Sichuan. These chronic cestode zoonoses constitute an unparalleled major public health problem for pastoral Tibetan communities, and pose great difficulties for adequate treatment access and effective transmission control in such remote regions.
Cystic echinococcosis; Alveolar echinococcosis; Ultrasound; Prevalence; Tibetan; Sichuan Province; Qinghai Province
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a severe helminth disease affecting humans, which is caused by the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. AE represents a serious public health issue in larger regions of China, Siberia, and other regions in Asia. In Europe, a significant increase in prevalence since the 1990s is not only affecting the historically documented endemic area north of the Alps but more recently also neighbouring regions previously not known to be endemic. The genetic diversity of the parasite population and respective distribution in Europe have now been investigated in view of generating a fine-tuned map of parasite variants occurring in Europe. This approach may serve as a model to study the parasite at a worldwide level.
The genetic diversity of E. multilocularis was assessed based upon the tandemly repeated microsatellite marker EmsB in association with matching fox host geographical positions. Our study demonstrated a higher genetic diversity in the endemic areas north of the Alps when compared to other areas.
The study of the spatial distribution of E. multilocularis in Europe, based on 32 genetic clusters, suggests that Europe can be considered as a unique global focus of E. multilocularis, which can be schematically drawn as a central core located in Switzerland and Jura Swabe flanked by neighbouring regions where the parasite exhibits a lower genetic diversity. The transmission of the parasite into peripheral regions is governed by a “mainland–island” system. Moreover, the presence of similar genetic profiles in both zones indicated a founder event.
Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm of the red fox, which represents a considerable health threat to respectively infected humans. Main endemic areas are located in China, Siberia, and central Europe. Alarmed by an emerging or reemerging situation in Europe, the question of how the parasite gets spatially and temporally spread and transmitted becomes essential to prepare appropriate control programs. The question was tackled by using genetic data on a large sample size of E. multilocularis adult stage tapeworms, combined with geographical site location data input. The historically documented endemic area, represented by the northern Alpine arch, was shown to harbour the highest genetic richness and diversity, as compared to surrounding areas in northern and eastern Europe. The spatial and temporal spread of different E. multilocularis genotypes in Europe seems to be ruled by a founder event, linked to exportation of parasites from the central core to newly identified (western and eastern) areas or subregions, where these parasites could subsequently disseminate under geographical separation from the original foci.
The first Mongolian-Japanese Joint Conference on "Echinococcosis: diagnosis, treatment and prevention in Mongolia" was held in Ulaanbaatar on June 4th, 2009. It was the first chance for Mongolian experts (clinicians, pathologists, parasitologists, biologists, epidemiologists, veterinarians and others working on echinococcosis) joined together. Increase in the number of cystic echinococcosis (CE) cases year by year was stressed. CE in children may be more than adult cases. Alveolar echinococcosis was suspected chronic malignant hepatic tumors or abscesses. Main discussion was as to how to introduce modern diagnostic tools for pre-surgical diagnosis, how to establish the national system for the data base of echinococcosis with the establishment of a network system by experts from different areas. The importance of molecular identification of the parasites in domestic and wild animals was also stressed.
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) in humans is a parasitic disease characterized by severe damage to the liver and occasionally other organs. AE is caused by infection with the metacestode (larval) stage of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, usually infecting small rodents as natural intermediate hosts. Conventionally, human AE is chemotherapeutically treated with mebendazole or albendazole. There is, however still the need for improved chemotherapeutical options. Primary in vivo studies on drugs of interest are commonly performed in small laboratory animals such as mice and Mongolian jirds, and in most cases, a secondary infection model is used, whereby E. multilocularis metacestodes are directly injected into the peritoneal cavity or into the liver. Disadvantages of this methodological approach include risk of injury to organs during the inoculation and, most notably, a limitation in the macroscopic (visible) assessment of treatment efficacy. Thus, in order to monitor the efficacy of chemotherapeutical treatment, animals have to be euthanized and the parasite tissue dissected. In the present study, mice were infected with E. multilocularis metacestodes through the subcutaneous route and were then subjected to chemotherapy employing albendazole. Serological responses to infection were comparatively assessed in mice infected by the conventional intraperitoneal route. We demonstrate that the subcutaneous infection model for secondary AE facilitates the assessment of the progress of infection and drug treatment in the live animal.
Alveolar echinococcosis is a disease which affects humans and inflicts severe damage to the liver and other organs. It is caused by a parasite whose definitive host is the fox. Despite being a relatively rare disease, an increasing number of new cases has been reported in central and eastern European countries more recently. The current therapy in human AE patients consists of benzimidazoles. The treatment has to be taken on a daily basis for very long periods of time, or even lifelong. New options are currently being searched for, mainly based on compounds that show efficacy in experimental animal infection models. The infection is commonly done by injecting parasites directly into the peritoneal cavity of the animals, with risk of damage to the surrounding organs. The efficacy of applied treatments can only be evaluated at the end of the studies by dissection of the animals. In this study we show that the subcutaneous infection model can be applied for drug treatment trials and enables the direct monitoring of treatment effects during the entire study period.
Underreporting of Human Alveolar Echinococcosis, Germany
We estimated the total number of human alveolar echinococcosis cases in Germany from 2003 through 2005 using the multiple source capture-recapture method. We found a 3-fold higher incidence of the disease than that shown by national surveillance data. We propose a revision of the reporting system to increase case ascertainment.
Human alveolar echinococcosis; capture-recapture; surveillance; dispatch
Human echinococcosis is a reportable disease in Kyrgyzstan. Between 1995 and 2011, human alveolar echinococcosis increased from <3 cases per year to >60 cases per year. The origins of this epidemic, which started in 2004, may be linked to the socioeconomic changes that followed the dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
Echinococcus multilocularis; emergence; Alveolar echinococcosis; Kyrgyzstan; Central Asia; tapeworms; parasites; zoonoses
The discovery of an unusual parasitic disease and its causative agents is recounted.
Echinococcosis is a parasitic zoonosis of increasing concern. In 1903, the first cases of human polycystic echinococcosis, a disease resembling alveolar echinococcosis, emerged in Argentina. One of the parasites responsible, Echinococcus oligarthrus, had been discovered in its adult strobilar stage before 1850. However, >100 years passed from the first description of the adult parasite to the recognition that this species is responsible for some cases of human neotropical polycystic echinococcosis and the elucidation of the parasite’s life cycle. A second South American species, E. vogeli, was described in 1972. Obtaining recognition of the 2 species and establishing their connection to human disease were complicated because the life cycle of tapeworms is complex and comprises different developmental stages in diverse host species. To date, at least 106 human cases have been reported from 12 South and Central American countries.
Polycystic echinococcosis; Echinococcus oligarthrus; Echinococcus vogeli; Neotropics; South America; metacestode; parasitic emerging disease; historical review
Echinococcosis in humans is a zoonotic infection caused by larval stages (metacestodes) of cestode species of the genus Echinococcus. Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is caused by Echinococcus granulosus, alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by E. multilocularis, and polycystic forms are caused by either E. vogeli or E. oligarthrus. In untreated cases, AE has a high mortality rate. Although control is essentially feasible, CE remains a considerable health problem in many regions of the northern and southern hemispheres. AE is restricted to the northern hemisphere regions of North America and Eurasia. Recent studies have shown that E. multilocularis, the causative agent of AE, is more widely distributed than previously thought. There are also some hints of an increasing significance of polycystic forms of the disease, which are restricted to Central and South America. Various aspects of human echinococcosis are discussed in this review, including data on the infectivity of genetic variants of E. granulosus to humans, the increasing invasion of cities in Europe and Japan by red foxes, the main definitive hosts of E. multilocularis, and the first demonstration of urban cycles of the parasite. Examples of emergence or reemergence of CE are presented, and the question of potential spreading of E. multilocularis is critically assessed. Furthermore, information is presented on new and improved tools for diagnosing the infection in final hosts (dogs, foxes, and cats) by coproantigen or DNA detection and the application of molecular techniques to epidemiological studies. In the clinical field, the available methods for diagnosing human CE and AE are described and the treatment options are summarized. The development of new chemotherapeutic options for all forms of human echinococcosis remains an urgent requirement. A new option for the control of E. granulosus in the intermediate host population (mainly sheep and cattle) is vaccination. Attempts are made to reduce the prevalence of E. multilocualaris in fox populations by regular baiting with an anthelmintic (praziquantel). Recent data have shown that this control option may be used in restricted areas, for example in cities, with the aim of reducing the infection risk for humans.
During analysis of retrospective community survey data, we identified two patients from Xiji County, south Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region with simultaneous echinococcosis and tuberculosis (TB), representing the first such reports for China. As the echinococcosis chronicity increased, the immune profile in both subjects changed from a Th1 to Th2 response, as shown by a TB skin test, originally positive, becoming negative. Such an elevated Th2 immune profile, with subsequent suppression of the Th1 immune response, is a common feature of chronic helminth infections. Given the difficulties in definitive diagnosis, and the potential increased susceptibility for TB infection in patients with advanced echinococcosis, we suggest that combined TB/echinococcosis surveys be undertaken in this area in the future. This would allow early diagnosis of both TB and echinococcosis cases with better prognosis for effective and sustainable treatment outcomes, ultimately reducing associated morbidity and mortality, and also the overall financial costs to the individual and the public health care system in this under developed part of China.
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) caused by Echinococcus multilocularis infections is a dangerous old disease in the Northern Hemisphere. The aim of the paper was to collect and analyze data on human AE in Poland in the last two decades.
The sources of data were both the cases officially registered and detected by an active field and laboratory surveillance. The cases were verified by clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory criteria. Altogether 121 human cases of AE were detected. Among these 83 (68,6%) cases were classified as confirmed, 16 as probable and 22 as possible. During the two decades a continuous increase in detection rate was noticed. The cases were 6–82 years old at the time of diagnosis (mean - 47.7 years). Sex ratio M/F was 0.86/1.0. The AE was fatal in 23 (19%) patients (mean age at death - 54.1 years). Family agglomeration of AE was found in 4 foci, involving 9 patients. Seventy six of the cases were diagnosed in an advanced stage of disease. In all cases the liver was the primary location of AE. In 30 (24.8%) patients a spread to other organs was observed. Ninety four of the patients were treated with albendazole. In 73 (60%) patients a surgical operation was performed, including 15 liver transplantations.
The studies confirmed that AE is an emerging disease in Poland, which is the fourth country in Europe with over 120 cases detected. The results also indicate the need of a wider national programme for implementation of screening in the highest AE risk areas (north-eastern Poland) with an effort to increase the public awareness of the possibility of contracting E. multilocularis, and above all, training of the primary care physicians in the recognition of the risk of AE to allow for an early detection of this dangerous disease.
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a consequence of accidental ingestion of the eggs of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. AE constitutes a serious and increasing medical and epidemiological problem in many countries including Poland. The natural environments with a high AE prevalence are the areas where the definitive hosts (foxes, raccoons) and the intermediate hosts (rodents) live. The increasing population of infected foxes that penetrate nearby the village and urban buildings and infected dogs poses a certain risk to human health. This report is a joint clinical and epidemiological analysis of 121 AE cases recorded in the years 1990–2011 in Poland. The highest percentage of E. multilocularis infected foxes in the north-eastern regions of Poland (about 40% of the examined population infected) bears a clear-cut relation to the highest incidence of detected AE human cases in those areas. An epidemiological and clinical survey of the local population conducted for over a dozen years has contributed to the discovery of several new AE cases. Alveolar echinococcosis in humans caused by Echinococcus multilocularis infection belongs to the emerging diseases in Poland where a continuous increase in the detection rate was noticed during the last two decades.
Changes in legislation that facilitate the movement of animals within the European Union may increase the risk that some microbial and parasitic organisms, currently exotic to Ireland, will be introduced by travelled pet animals. It is possible that the fox tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis, might be introduced in that manner from any of the several member states in which it is endemic. Red foxes are the principal definitive hosts of E. multilocularis but dogs and cats can also be infected. Infection in the definitive host is of little clinical significance, but aberrant infection of humans results in alveolar echinococcosis, a debilitating disease that has a high mortality rate. Humans acquire the organism by ingestion of Echinococcus multilocularis eggs excreted by definitive hosts; the larval metacestodes develop primarily in the liver, in the initial asymptomatic phase as small, well-encapsulated cysts. Over time, perhaps five to 15 years, progressive local infiltration and secondary cyst development at distant sites occur with resultant clinical signs. Patients with infiltrative liver disease present with cholestatic jaundice, epigastric pain, fatigue, weight loss and hepatomegaly. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.
This paper recounts the life cycle of the parasite, and discusses the control measures on which its exclusion from Ireland depend. Strict adherence to the routine worming of travelled dogs with praziquantel, at appropriate doses, 24 to 48 hours prior to entry into the country will minimise the likelihood of introduction of this zoonosis.
canidae; fox; dog; zoonosis; Echinococcus multilocularis; alveolar echinococcosis
Human echinococcosis is a neglected zoonosis caused by parasites of the genus Echinococcus. The most frequent clinical forms of echinococcosis, cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE), are responsible for a substantial health and economic burden, particularly to low-income societies. Quantitative epidemiology can provide important information to improve the understanding of parasite transmission and hence is an important part of efforts to control this disease. The purpose of this review is to give an insight on factors associated with echinococcosis in animal hosts by summarising significant results reported from epidemiological studies identified through a systematic search.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The systematic search was conducted mainly in electronic databases but a few additional records were obtained from other sources. Retrieved entries were examined in order to identify available peer-reviewed epidemiological studies that found significant risk factors for infection using associative statistical methods. One hundred studies met the eligibility criteria and were suitable for data extraction. Epidemiological factors associated with increased risk of E. granulosus infection in dogs included feeding with raw viscera, possibility of scavenging dead animals, lack of anthelmintic treatment and owners' poor health education and indicators of poverty. Key factors associated with E. granulosus infection in intermediate hosts were related to the hosts' age and the intensity of environmental contamination with parasite eggs. E. multilocularis transmission dynamics in animal hosts depended on the interaction of several ecological factors, such as hosts' population densities, host-prey interactions, landscape characteristics, climate conditions and human-related activities.
Results derived from epidemiological studies provide a better understanding of the behavioural, biological and ecological factors involved in the transmission of this parasite and hence can aid in the design of more effective control strategies.
Echinococcosis is considered a neglected zoonotic disease caused by the larval form of Echinococcus spp. tapeworms. Humans become infected through the accidental intake of parasitic eggs excreted by the faeces of definitive hosts (dogs, foxes and other canids). Infection involves the development of cysts, primarily in the lungs and liver, causing damage as they enlarge like a slowly growing tumor. Transmission is facilitated by the general lack of awareness of infection factors and epidemiological models can identify them. Nevertheless, there has never been a systematic review summarizing the significant determinants for echinococcosis in animals. One hundred publications were included in the results after evaluating 1,935 entries and screening the references lists of the eligible papers. Principal factors associated with canine infection included the access of dogs to infected offal, allowing dogs to roam free, being a young and/or male dog and social behaviours linked with poor health conditions and poor living environments of dog owners. Ecological factors influencing E. multilocularis transmission encompassed population densities of foxes and rodents, predator-prey relationships, geographical characteristics, climate conditions and the movement of foxes towards urban areas. These findings are important, as intervention to control echinococcosis requires intervention in animal populations.
Echinococcosis is an infectious disease of humans caused by the larval (metacestode) stage of the cestode species Echinococcus granulosus (cystic echinococcosis or hydatid disease) or Echinococcus multilocularis (alveolar echinococcosis or alveolar hydatid disease). Clinical manifestations depend primarily on localization and size of hepatic lesions and may include hepatomegaly, obstructive jaundice, or cholangitis. Prognostically, alveolar echinococcosis is considered similar to liver malignancies, including a lethality rate of 90% for untreated cases. Diagnosis is based on imaging techniques coupled with immunodiagnostic procedures. Antibody detection tests for E. multilocularis have markedly improved with the use of affinity-purified Em2 antigen and recombinant antigen II/3-10 in enzyme immunoassays. Antigens of corresponding quality for E. granulosus are still unavailable. The detection of circulating antigens and immune complexes in the sera of patients with cystic echinococcosis, the demonstration of in vitro lymphocyte proliferation in response to stimulation with Echinococcus antigens, and the discrimination of serum immunoglobulin isotype activity to various Echinococcus antigens in both cystic and alveolar echinococcosis have been suggested for diagnostic purposes as well as for monitoring patients after treatment. New diagnostic molecular tools include DNA probes for Southern hybridization tests and polymerase chain reaction for the amplification of E. multilocularis and E. granulosus species-specific DNA fragments.
Because the human and economic losses of cystic echinococcosis are substantial, global prevention and control measures should be increased.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is an emerging zoonotic parasitic disease throughout the world. Human incidence and livestock prevalence data of CE were gathered from published literature and the Office International des Epizooties databases. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and monetary losses, resulting from human and livestock CE, were calculated from recorded human and livestock cases. Alternative values, assuming substantial underreporting, are also reported. When no underreporting is assumed, the estimated human burden of disease is 285,407 (95% confidence interval [CI], 218,515–366,133) DALYs or an annual loss of US $193,529,740 (95% CI, $171,567,331–$217,773,513). When underreporting is accounted for, this amount rises to 1,009,662 (95% CI, 862,119–1,175,654) DALYs or US $763,980,979 (95% CI, $676,048,731–$857,982,275). An annual livestock production loss of at least US $141,605,195 (95% CI, $101,011,553–$183,422,465) and possibly up to US $2,190,132,464 (95% CI, $1,572,373,055–$2,951,409,989) is also estimated. This initial valuation demonstrates the necessity for increased monitoring and global control of CE.
echinococcosis; cestodes; cost of illness; burden of illness; economics; zoonoses