Combining information from surveys of several species to estimate the probability of freedom from Echinococcus multilocularis in Sweden, Finland and mainland Norway

Acta Vet Scand. 2011 Feb 11;53(1):9. doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-53-9.


Background: The fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis has foxes and other canids as definitive host and rodents as intermediate hosts. However, most mammals can be accidental intermediate hosts and the larval stage may cause serious disease in humans. The parasite has never been detected in Sweden, Finland and mainland Norway. All three countries require currently an anthelminthic treatment for dogs and cats prior to entry in order to prevent introduction of the parasite. Documentation of freedom from E. multilocularis is necessary for justification of the present import requirements.

Methods: The probability that Sweden, Finland and mainland Norway were free from E. multilocularis and the sensitivity of the surveillance systems were estimated using scenario trees. Surveillance data from five animal species were included in the study: red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), domestic pig, wild boar (Sus scrofa) and voles and lemmings (Arvicolinae).

Results: The cumulative probability of freedom from EM in December 2009 was high in all three countries, 0.98 (95% CI 0.96-0.99) in Finland and 0.99 (0.97-0.995) in Sweden and 0.98 (0.95-0.99) in Norway.

Conclusions: Results from the model confirm that there is a high probability that in 2009 the countries were free from E. multilocularis. The sensitivity analyses showed that the choice of the design prevalences in different infected populations was influential. Therefore more knowledge on expected prevalences for E. multilocularis in infected populations of different species is desirable to reduce residual uncertainty of the results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arvicolinae / parasitology*
  • Data Collection
  • Echinococcosis / diagnosis
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / veterinary*
  • Echinococcus multilocularis / isolation & purification*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Foxes / parasitology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Raccoon Dogs / parasitology*
  • Rodent Diseases / diagnosis
  • Rodent Diseases / epidemiology
  • Rodent Diseases / parasitology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sus scrofa / parasitology*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases / diagnosis
  • Swine Diseases / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases / parasitology