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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316452

Title: Cystic echinococcosis: Future perspectives of molecular epidemiology

item ITO, AKIRA - Asahikawa Medical College
item NAKAO, MINORU - Asahikawa Medical College
item LAVAIKAINEN, ANTTI - University Of Helsinki
item Hoberg, Eric

Submitted to: Trends in Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2015
Publication Date: 5/26/2016
Citation: Ito, A., Nakao, M., Lavaikainen, A., Hoberg, E.P. 2016. Cystic echinococcosis: Future perspectives of molecular epidemiology. Trends in Parasitology. 165:3-9.

Interpretive Summary: When eggs of canine tapeworms are accidentally ingested, people can experience severe disease (termed cystic echinococcosis or hydatidosis). Until recently, it was assumed that most such human disease resulted from a parasite that naturally cycles between dogs and sheep (Echinococcus granulosus sensu strictu). However, recent molecular data reveal that human cases are also commonly caused by another species, Echinococcus canadensis, which can cycle between dogs and pigs or between wolves and wild cervids. Current methods to diagnose, evaluate, and treat this disease fail to distinguish between these parasite species, hampering efforts to reduce disease incidence, understand pathogenesis, and treat infections. Here, we stress the importance of identifying the pathogen in order to enable an evidence-based reevaluation of epidemiology of human cystic echinocococcisis. This paper will be of interest to physicians, parasitologists, veterinarians, clinical diagnosticians, and public health personnel.

Technical Abstract: Human cystic echinococcosis (CE) has been conceived to be caused predominantly by Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto (the dog-sheep strain). Recent molecular approaches on CE, however, have revealed that human cases are also commonly caused by another species, Echinococcus canadensis. All indices for classification and standardization of CE pathology including available images, epidemiology, diagnostics and treatment are currently based on the mixture of infections which minimally include E. granulosus s.s. and E. canadensis. Molecular identification of the causative species in CE cases is essential for better understanding of pathogenesis and disease. This article stresses the importance of molecular species identification of human CE as a foundation for re-evaluation of evidence-based epidemiology.