Combined eco-epidemiological and molecular biology approaches to assess Echinococcus granulosus transmission to humans in Mauritania: occurrence of the 'camel' strain and human cystic echinococcosis

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2002 Jul-Aug;96(4):383-6. doi: 10.1016/s0035-9203(02)90369-x.


Mauritania lies between West-Central Africa where human cystic echinococcosis (CE) is considered extremely rare and West Maghreb where CE accounts for a real public health problem. Until 1992, Mauritania was considered as human CE-free even through CE seemed well known in livestock. In 1992, the introduction of ultrasonography led to the diagnosis of the first human CE cases. In 1997, a veterinary study revealed that dogs living around Nouakchott were commonly infected by Echinococcus granulosus. To assess E. granulosus transmission and to identify the most relevant animal reservoir responsible for human CE emerging in Mauritania, a simultaneous eco-epidemiological and molecular biology approach was performed. The fieldwork included sample collection and investigation of relationship between intermediate hosts, definitive hosts and humans. Typing of E. granulosus strains was performed using comparison of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified DNA sequences with one nuclear (BG 1/3) and 2 mitochondrial (COI, NDI) targets. Results show that the 'camel' strain is actually infectious to humans and circulates between intermediate hosts including camels and cattle. It is suggested that preventive measures at slaughtering places could reduce human contamination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Camelus / parasitology*
  • Cattle / parasitology
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / transmission*
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / transmission
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / transmission
  • Echinococcus / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Mauritania / epidemiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sheep / parasitology
  • Zoonoses