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Parasitology. 2003;127 Suppl:S5-20.

Echinococcosis: disease, detection and transmission.

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  • 1Cestode Zoonoses Research Group, Bioscience Research Institute and School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, M54WT, UK.


Echinococcosis is one of the world's most geographically widespread parasitic zoonoses, with transmission occurring in tropical, temperate and arctic biomes. Most human infections are due to Echinococcus granulosus transmitted between domestic dogs and livestock, but this cosmopolitan species also cycles between wild carnivores (principally canids) and wild ungulates. The other species with significant zoonotic potential is E. multilocularis that occurs naturally in fox definitive hosts and small mammal intermediate hosts. These two species cause human cystic or alveolar echinococcosis respectively, which may be considered serious public health problems in several regions including developed countries. This review provides an introductory overview to the Supplement and summarises the biology and epidemiology of these two related cestodes with an emphasis on applied aspects relating to detection, diagnosis and surveillance in animal and human populations, and includes aspects of transmission ecology, and also considers aspects of community epidemiology and potential for control.

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