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Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Mar;14(3):341-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02229.x. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Echinococcosis, toxocarosis and toxoplasmosis screening in a rural community in eastern Kazakhstan.

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Institute of Parasitology, WHO Collaborating Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.



To determine the extent of carnivore-transmitted parasitic zoonoses in a community in eastern Kazakhstan, a region where cystic echinococcosis (CE) re-emerged in recent years.


Cross sectional ultrasound study of 3126 human subjects to determine the extent of human cystic and alveolar echinococcosis (AE). Blood samples were taken from each subject and analysed for antibodies against Echinococcus, Toxocara and Toxoplasma spp. Each subject was questioned about possible risk factors that might be associated with zoonotic transmission. Analysis employed a mixed modelling approach based on the results of the ultrasound study, the serological results and the results of the questionnaire. Bayesian techniques were employed to estimate diagnostic performance. A helminthological study of the local dog population was also undertaken.


A total of 23 subjects tested positive for CE on ultrasound and a further three individuals had strong serological evidence of infection. Another 24 reported treatment for CE. Ultrasound lesions or treatment for CE were associated with poverty. No ultrasound evidence of AE was found, but one individual had strong serological evidence of exposure to Echinococcus multilocularis. Toxoplasma seropositivity (16%; 504 individuals) increased with age. Household level Toxoplasma-seropositivity was associated with unsafe drinking water. Toxocara seropositivity (11%; 349 individuals) was more frequent in children and in individuals who disposed of dog faeces on the vegetable garden. A purgation study of dogs indicated that 13% of dogs in the community were infected with Echinococcus granulosus, 5% with E. multilocularis and 2% with Toxocara canis respectively.


There is significant transmission of E. granulosus to humans in this community. Transmission may be associated with poverty. There is little evidence of E. multilocularis transmission to humans, despite the presence in the parasite in the domestic dog population. Toxoplasma is actively transmitted and there is evidence for transmission by the water supply. Children are at highest risk of exposure to Toxocara.

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