Past to present: echinococcosis in Turkey

Acta Trop. 2003 Feb;85(2):105-12. doi: 10.1016/s0001-706x(02)00213-9.


Echinococcosis is a zoonotic infection caused by Echinococcus spp. and is one of the most important helminthic diseases worldwide. Two forms of echinococcosis occur in Turkey, i.e. Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis. The life cycle of E. granulosus is predominantly in dogs and sheep, and most sheep farmers in Turkey keep a dog or two. Stray dogs are numerous and prevention or treatment of infection in these dogs is very difficult. Cystic echinococcosis (CE) occurs throughout Turkey whereas alveolar echinococcosis (AE) predominantly occurs in the eastern Anatolian region of the country. Both CE and AE are known to be endemic but few surveys have been performed. Most data on human CE and AE have been collected from hospital records. The first reference of echinococcosis, "Kyste hydatique multiloculaire", in Turkey dates as far back to 1872 by an Ottoman Physician, C.R. Katibian. The results of the first Turkish study on E. granulosus were published in 1928. According to Ministry of Health records, 21303 patients had operations to treat or confirm CE in the period 1987-1994 which corresponds to approximately 2663 patients per year. The estimated surgical case rate of CE is 0.87-6.6 per 100000 in Turkey. The prevalence of E. granulosus infection in dogs in Turkey is between 0.32 and 40% and varies widely with geographical location. The reported prevalence of CE in domestic animals in Turkey has ranged from 11.2 to 50.7% and has varied widely with geographical location. Although no detailed information has been published on AE in domestic and wild animals in Turkey, the main definitive and intermediate hosts of E. multilocularis are assumed to be rodents and red foxes, respectively. However, there has been only a single published report of E. multilocularis in a wild animal (fox) in the northwest in 1965 by Merdivenci. The first human case of AE in Turkey was reported by Mutlu in 1939, and total cumulative reported case number is 202 between 1980 and 1998.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Buffaloes
  • Cattle
  • Child
  • Dogs
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology*
  • Echinococcosis / history*
  • Echinococcosis / veterinary
  • Echinococcus / pathogenicity
  • History, Modern 1601-
  • Humans
  • Sheep
  • Turkey / epidemiology