Epidemiological studies on Echinococcus in Pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus) and European hare (Lepus europaeus) in Buenos Aires province, Argentina

Parasitol Res. 2013 Oct;112(10):3607-13. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3548-3. Epub 2013 Jul 28.


In Argentina, hydatid disease caused by Echinococcus granulosus is widespread. The south of Buenos Aires province, Argentina, is one of the three regions where hydatidosis is endemic. Although domestic dogs and sheep are considered to be the main hosts for E. granulosus, the potential role of wildlife in the local transmission of E. granulosus has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to estimate the hydatidosis/echinococcosis prevalence in European hare (Lepus europaeus) and Pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus), two abundant species with a strong predator-prey relationship in rural areas of Buenos Aires province using different diagnostic tests. A total of 61 fox intestines were examined, finding that 52 (85.2%) harbored at least one helminth species. However, no adult or immature form of Echinococcus sp. was found in the intestinal contents. Coproparasitological analysis and Copro-ELISA followed by Copro-PCR were used as supplementary diagnostic tests. Only one (1.7%) of 59 fecal samples was positive to Taeniidae eggs by coproparasitological analysis, but this same sample was negative by the Copro-ELISA test. The analysis by Copro-ELISA showed 6 of 57 (10.6%) positive samples, but the Copro-PCR tests carried out on these samples were negative to E. granulosus. A total of 6,808 lungs, 3,576 livers, and 3,542 hearts of hunted hares were examined and palpated, but no structure resembling hydatid cysts were detected. Our results suggest that hares and Pampas foxes are not currently important wild reservoirs of E. granulosus in the studied area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology
  • Echinococcosis / veterinary*
  • Echinococcus / isolation & purification*
  • Foxes*
  • Hares*
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Ovum