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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1992 Aug;86(4):381-6.

Prevalence of human hydatid disease in northwestern Libya: a cross-sectional ultrasound study.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Salford, U.K.


A total of 4103 people were screened in an ultrasound survey of the prevalence of hydatid disease (Echinococcus granulosus) in five areas of northwestern Libya; hydatid cysts were seen in 57 (1.4%), an overall prevalence of approximately 2.0% when adjusted for the likelihood of the occurrence of cysts in other sites in the body. All ultrasound-positive cases were confirmed by dot-blot ELISA. The prevalence of hydatid cysts increased with age, and differed between the sexes except in the five to 14 age group. All diagnosed cases, even those with large cysts, were asymptomatic. This study demonstrates the value of ultrasonography for screening field populations for hydatid disease. The technique was well received locally, facilitating the rapid collection of prevalence data from all ages and both sexes. Libyan people keep guard dogs, but there is little direct human:dog contact. Many people own a single dog, invariably kept outside and often chained up. Stray dogs are common, roaming the countryside to scavenge sheep carcases etc., and such dogs could be the main reservoir of E. granulosus in Libya. Because of the minimal direct human:dog contact, transmission of hydatid disease in Libya is probably indirect by ingestion of eggs from contaminated vegetables or drinking water.

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