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Genetic Diversity of the Cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in Red Foxes at a Continental Scale in Europe


Knapp, J; Bart, J M; Giraudoux, P; Glowatzki, M L; Breyer, I; Raoul, F; Deplazes, P; Duscher, G; Martinek, K; Dubinsky, P; Guislain, M H; Cliquet, F; Romig, T; Malczewski, A; Gottstein, B; Piarroux, R (2009). Genetic Diversity of the Cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in Red Foxes at a Continental Scale in Europe. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 3(6):e452.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Language:English
Date:June 2009
Deposited On:17 Jun 2009 07:28
Last Modified:09 Aug 2016 07:15
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1935-2727
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000452
Related URLs:http://www.plosntds.org/home.action (Publisher)
PubMed ID:19513103
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-19252

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