[Increase in the prevalence of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in red foxes in Lower Saxony]

Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2001 May;108(5):201-5.
[Article in German]


Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm having carnivores as final hosts, the red fox in particular, dog and cat less frequent. Its two host life cycle consists of a larval cycle which predominantly takes place in the liver of rodents such as mice but it can also develop in musk rats as intermediate hosts. Man can also be infected and serves as a wrong intermediate host. He develops an alveolar echinococcosis which usually ends lethal without medical treatment. The prevalence of E. multilocularis among 5.365 red foxes in Lower Saxony was monitored from 1991 to 1997. The data were analysed using spatial epidemiological methods. This evaluation is based on a significance test which was applied to the parameters of spatial autoregressive regression models (CAR) fitting to the data of two successive sampling periods from 1991-1994 and 1994-1997. The mean prevalence (spatial median) increased from 6% to 11%. The results of this epidemiological study which was restricted to Lower Saxony support for the first time the earlier reported assumption that the prevalence of foxes infected with E. multilocularis has risen in Europe in the last decade. The reasons for this development are still unknown.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / veterinary*
  • Echinococcus / growth & development*
  • Foxes / parasitology*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prevalence