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Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm of canid carnivores. It is widely present in the Northern Hemisphere with endemic regions in central Europe, northern and central Eurasia, and in parts of North America. The main definitive host in Europe is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), with a prevalence of more than 50 per cent in some studies (Losson and others 1997, Roming and others 1999, Hofer and others 2000, Tackmann and others 2001, Casulli and others 2005, Vervaeke and others 2006). At the beginning of the 1990s, this parasite started to spread from the endemic areas in central Europe (Roming 2002, Vervaeke and others 2006). It is suggested that one of the main causes of its spread is the increased number of foxes in European countries, which occurred after the decrease of the incidence of rabies as a result of successful peroral vaccination (Chautan and others 2000).
E. multilocularis is a pathogenic zoonosis. Rodents are the usual intermediate host, but humans can be an accidental intermediate host. Humans are infected by ingesting eggs from a contaminated environment. Oncospheres are released in the digestive tract and further spread through the entire body through hepatopulmonary ways (Kulišić and others 1999). They are usually found in the liver causing alveolar echinococcosis, which is lethal if left untreated …
Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed
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