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Natural Echinococcus multilocularis infection in cats

G. Umhang, M-A. Forin-Wiart, V. Hormaz, C. Caillot, J-M. Boucher, M-L. Poulle, F. Boué

ECHINOCOCCUS multilocularis, the causative agent of alveolar echinococcus (AE), can infect domestic carnivores, such as dogs and cats. People can also be infected by E multilocularis and human AE is thought to be widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The close proximity of people to dogs, with the potential for contamination of soil around houses, makes owning dogs a risk factor for AE; however, the role of the cat is ambiguous. This paper aimed to provide information on the prevalence of natural E multilocularis infection of free-ranging domestic cats and European wildcats in a rural endemic area in northeastern France.

A field collection of free-ranging domestic cat faeces was performed three times in succession (June to July 2011, November to December 2011, March 2012) in two small villages in the Ardennes region of northeastern France. Faeces from cat little trays were also collected. In addition, from February 2011 to March 2014, the intestines of cats killed in road accidents were collected for analysis.

The presence of E multilocularis DNA was found in 3.1 per cent of domestic cat faeces; however, no eggs were found. This …

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