Echinococcus multilocularis and Toxocara canis in urban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Brussels, Belgium

Prev Vet Med. 2007 Jun 15;80(1):65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2007.01.004. Epub 2007 Feb 26.


During the last decades, European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) have been implicated in the transmission of several viral or parasitic pathogenic agents to domestic animals and humans. In urban areas, risks of zoonoses transmission are likely to increase as a result of a higher rate of intra- and inter-species contacts. Foxes occur on 35% of the Brussels-Capital Region area and local densities reach up to 4 family groups per square kilometre. According to the directive 2003/99/ECC, a first survey for the presence in foxes of Echinococcus multilocularis and Toxocara canis was conducted in Brussels from 2001 to 2004. None of 160 foxes were found to be infected with E. multilocularis and 24 of 134 foxes were found to be infected with T. canis. Considering numbers of examined foxes, the sensitivity and the specificity of tests used for diagnosis, the 95% credibility intervals for the true prevalence of E. multilocularis and T. canis were estimated in a Bayesian framework to be 0 to 1.87% (median value of 0%) and 12.7 to 26% (median value of 18.7%), respectively. For T. canis, a significantly higher risk to be a carrier occurs in cubs and a significantly lower risk in adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Echinococcosis / diagnosis
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / veterinary*
  • Echinococcus multilocularis / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Foxes / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Toxocara canis / isolation & purification*
  • Toxocariasis / diagnosis
  • Toxocariasis / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population
  • Zoonoses