Echinococcosis in sub-Saharan Africa: emerging complexity.

Parasitology Unit, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.
Veterinary Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.55). 04/2011; 181(1):43-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.04.022
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cystic echinococcosis occurs in most regions of sub-Saharan Africa, but the frequency of this zoonosis differs considerably among and within countries. Especially human cases seem to be focally distributed. A number of environmental and behavioural factors partially explain this pattern, i.e. density of livestock, presence of dogs, uncontrolled slaughter, and hygiene. In addition, the various taxa of Echinococcus spp. are known to differ considerably in infectivity to different host species including humans. Genetic characterizations of isolates, which are necessary to evaluate the impact of this factor - so far done in only a few countries - indicate that the diversity of Echinococcus spp. in Sub-Saharan Africa is greater than on any other continent. The very incomplete data which are available show that sympatrical taxa may infect different hosts, others may be geographically restricted, some life cycles involve livestock, others wild animals. Possible implications of this complexity for public health, livestock economy and conservation are briefly discussed.

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