Cystic echinococcosis in children - the seventeen-year experience of two large medical centers in Serbia

Parasitol Int. 2010 Jun;59(2):257-61. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2010.02.011. Epub 2010 Mar 3.


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a public health problem in countries having such endemic areas. Epidemiological studies of CE, especially pediatric, are rare. The aim of this study was to evaluate epidemiological and clinical characteristics of CE in children in Serbia. Data were obtained retrospectively from the case records of patients under the age of 18 years admitted for surgical treatment of CE at two large pediatric medical institutions in the period 1990-2006. Patients' age, number of cysts and their anatomic location were evaluated in relation to differences by patients' gender and socio-geographic status (urban or rural origin). The study included 149 children with 272 hydatid cysts. The mean age of patients was 10.1+/-3.8 years. There were no significant differences in the number of patients in relation to gender and urban:rural origin. There were no significant differences in patients' age at the time of surgery or the number of cysts per patient when patients' gender or socio-geographic status was evaluated. The anatomic location of cysts was as follows: liver (N=165; 60.7%), lungs (N=82; 30.1%), and other locations (N=25; 9.2%). Multiple cysts, and combined liver/lung involvement were identified in 34.2% (N=51), and 6.0% (N=9) of patients, respectively. Hepatic cysts were significantly more common in girls than in boys. There were no significant differences in anatomic location of cysts between socio-geographic groups. The large number of infected children during a long period of investigation indicates an active transmission of disease and a lack of program for control and prevention of CE in Serbia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echinococcosis* / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis* / parasitology
  • Echinococcosis* / physiopathology
  • Echinococcosis* / surgery
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / parasitology
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / surgery
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / parasitology
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / surgery
  • Echinococcus granulosus* / pathogenicity
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population
  • Serbia / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Urban Population