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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2006 Jun;47(1):24-41.

Recent advances in the immunology and diagnosis of echinococcosis.

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Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition, The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Echinococcosis is a cosmopolitan zoonosis caused by adult or larval stages of cestodes belonging to the genus Echinococcus (family Taeniidae). The two major species of medical and public health importance are Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis, which cause cystic echinococcosis and alveolar echinococcosis, respectively. Both cystic echinococcosis and alveolar echinococcosis are serious diseases, the latter especially so, with a high fatality rate and poor prognosis if managed inappropriately. This review highlights recent advances in immunity to infection and vaccination against both parasites in their intermediate and definitive hosts and procedures for diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis and alveolar echinococcosis, including the value of immunodiagnostic and DNA approaches. There is discussion also of progress in genomics and related technologies that is providing valuable insights on the functional biology of the Echinococcus organisms. These studies will underpin future research that will reveal a better understanding of the Echinococcus-host interplay, and suggest new avenues for the identification of additional targets for diagnosis, vaccination and chemotherapy.

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