Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

Atlas of Parasites Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Echinococcus multilocularis (foxes, dog, cat)



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Distribution:  Endemic in central and eastern Europe.

Host: Final hosts are foxes, dogs, raccoon dogs and cats, after ingestion of larval stages in intermediate hosts (mainly rodents). 

Life cycle: Dogs should be prevented from having access to raw offal and carcases.  Pre-patent period is 28 days and patent period can be for several months.

Diagnosis:  Morphology and size of proglottids on faecal samples.  Egg detection with flotation, sedimentation or combined techniques (not very sensitive and Taenia-type eggs cannot be differentiated morphologically).  Coproantigen detection enables detection of pre-patent infections 10 days p.i. with a sensitivity of more than 90% if more than 50 worms are present, lower if less than 50 worms are present.  PCR/sequencing allows species identification (from isolated eggs or proglottids).

Clinical signs: Asymptomatic.

Zoonosis: Red foxes, raccoon dogs and rarely dogs and cats may excrete eggs of Echinococcus multilocularis in faeces.  The oral accidental assumption of E. multilocularis eggs causes alveolar echinococcosis in humans, which if untreated has potentially fatal consequences and this is therefore of major public health concern.  Infection with eggs results in the formation of cysts also in animals such as pigs, horses and dogs.


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