Update on Echinococcus multilocularis with particular emphasis on its impact on humans
Friday, May 2, 2014
The range of Echinococcus multilocularis has extended over the past 4 years, effectively removing the ‘buffer zone’ of land between the channel coast and the western-most edge of its endemic area. This means that pet owners taking their dogs and cats across the channel should consider treating their dogs or cats at monthly intervals with a suitable cestocide containing praziquantel or equivalent if there is any chance of the pet having access to rodents. The role of cats as significant producers of eggs is markedly less than that of foxes or dogs. However the role of the cat as a source of infection within the domestic environment is less well defined.Infection of humans has a lag time of between 5 and 15 years before clinical signs are seen, thus it will be some time before the scale of zoonotic infections is known from the areas where the infection has now spread to. Diagnosis in humans relies on serology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans to detect characteristic cystic lesions normally in the liver. Cure is most likely to be achieved if resection of the entire lesion is possible. Long-term benzimidazole treatment is normally administered to ensure control.In addition to regular cestocidal treatment of dogs and cats, cleanliness measures including hand washing before eating and wearing gloves when gardening can help with preventing human infection.
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