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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017 Aug;97(2):587-595. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.16-0643. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Cystic Echinococcosis in Turkana, Kenya: The Role of Cross-Sectional Screening Surveys in Assessing the Prevalence of Human Infection.

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St. George's University School of Medicine, True Blue, Grenada.
Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), True Blue, Grenada.
Meru University of Science and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
Outreach Program, Amref Health Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.
University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.
St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine, True Blue, Grenada.


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a neglected zoonotic disease caused by Echinococcus granulosus. Infection leads to formation of cysts within the viscera of the human host. In the 1980s, the transhumant population of northwest Turkana, Kenya, was found to have the highest prevalence of CE in the world. In 1983, AMREF Health Africa and the Kenya Medical and Research Institute launched a CE Control Program in northwest Turkana, screening and treating the local people. This epidemiological study of CE in Turkana analyses approximately 30 years of surveillance and surgical data. Cyst data were categorized using the World Health Organization CE ultrasound classification system before being analyzed for cyst, patient, and population characteristics, and surveillance data from 1985 are compared with more recent surveillance data to assess changes in prevalence in the control region since the commencement of control activities. In 1985, the prevalence of CE among the Turkana was 5.6%. In 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, calculated CE prevalence rates were 1.9% and 3.8%, respectively. Since the 1980s, the age distribution of people with CE in Turkana has shifted: initially, cases of CE appeared predominantly within younger age groups, but recent data reveal a higher prevalence within older age groups. The frequency of infection in females also significantly decreased. The reduction in CE prevalence from 5.6% in the 1980s to 1.9-3.8% in 2010-2012 and the shift in age distribution of CE-infected individuals over time indicate that the prevalence of CE in Turkana has decreased since the control program began.

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