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Echinococcus multilocularis: Epidemiology, surveillance and state-of-the-art diagnostics from a veterinary public health perspective


Conraths, Franz J; Deplazes, Peter (2015). Echinococcus multilocularis: Epidemiology, surveillance and state-of-the-art diagnostics from a veterinary public health perspective. Veterinary Parasitology, 213(3-4):149-161.

Abstract

Alveolar echinococcosis (AE), caused by the larval (metacestode) stage of Echinococcus multilocularis, is considered one of the most serious parasitic zoonoses in Central and Eastern Europe and is emerging also in large parts of Asia and in North America. The red fox represents the main definitive host of E. multilocularis in Europe, but the raccoon dog, the domestic dog and to a much lesser extent the domestic cat also represent potential definitive hosts. The natural intermediate hosts of E. multilocularis are mainly voles. The spectrum of accidental hosts is broad and includes many species of monkeys, pigs, dogs and humans which get infected by oral uptake of the viable eggs. Yet, human AE is a very rare disease in Europe; incidences have increased in recent years, while the infection is widely distributed in foxes with high prevalences reaching up to 70% in some areas. Generally, infected foxes represent a zoonotic risk, which may be particularly relevant in urban areas. Furthermore, there is concern that the risk for humans to acquire AE may rise due to the suspected geographical spread of the parasite as assessed by infections in its definitive hosts and the high prevalences in some regions. Monitoring and surveillance activities have therefore been initiated in a few European countries. Several diagnostic strategies have been developed and validated in recent years, applying classical worm detection by microscopy, but also immunological (ELISA for coproantigen detection) and molecular tests (copro-DNA detection by PCR). However, there is an urgent need for defining minimal requirements and harmonised approaches for these activities to allow for a reliable assessment of the epidemiological situation in Europe and comparable results from different countries.

Abstract

Alveolar echinococcosis (AE), caused by the larval (metacestode) stage of Echinococcus multilocularis, is considered one of the most serious parasitic zoonoses in Central and Eastern Europe and is emerging also in large parts of Asia and in North America. The red fox represents the main definitive host of E. multilocularis in Europe, but the raccoon dog, the domestic dog and to a much lesser extent the domestic cat also represent potential definitive hosts. The natural intermediate hosts of E. multilocularis are mainly voles. The spectrum of accidental hosts is broad and includes many species of monkeys, pigs, dogs and humans which get infected by oral uptake of the viable eggs. Yet, human AE is a very rare disease in Europe; incidences have increased in recent years, while the infection is widely distributed in foxes with high prevalences reaching up to 70% in some areas. Generally, infected foxes represent a zoonotic risk, which may be particularly relevant in urban areas. Furthermore, there is concern that the risk for humans to acquire AE may rise due to the suspected geographical spread of the parasite as assessed by infections in its definitive hosts and the high prevalences in some regions. Monitoring and surveillance activities have therefore been initiated in a few European countries. Several diagnostic strategies have been developed and validated in recent years, applying classical worm detection by microscopy, but also immunological (ELISA for coproantigen detection) and molecular tests (copro-DNA detection by PCR). However, there is an urgent need for defining minimal requirements and harmonised approaches for these activities to allow for a reliable assessment of the epidemiological situation in Europe and comparable results from different countries.

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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:31 July 2015
Deposited On:24 Nov 2015 13:09
Last Modified:13 Nov 2016 06:44
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0304-4017
Additional Information:Special Issue: Plenary papers presented at the ESCCAP Echinococcus 2014 scientific meeting — Held at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Vilnius, Lithuania
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.07.027
PubMed ID:26298509

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