Preliminary Evidence for the Absence of Cystic Echinococcosis in Gabon: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Survey in Humans and Definitive Hosts

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Jul;99(1):97-101. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0955. Epub 2018 May 17.


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a globally endemic zoonosis caused by the larval stage of the Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.) complex. Although the disease is known to be highly prevalent in certain parts of North and East Africa, data on CE, both in humans and definitive hosts, are extremely scarce for Central Africa. The present study assessed the epidemiology of CE in humans and dogs in rural Gabon. An ultrasound and serologic survey was conducted in volunteers from rural villages in Gabon. A two-step approach was used for serological testing with an indirect hemagglutination assay as a screening test and Western Blot as a confirmatory test. Fecal dog samples were analyzed microscopically, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of nad1 and cox1 genes was performed when taeniid eggs were visible. Regional hospitals and the national reference center for parasitology in Gabon were contacted for information about previous cases of CE. Randomly selected communities were invited to participate. Three hundred and forty-eight human volunteers from these communities were screened. No suspected cases of CE were detected. Definitive host screening was performed from 128 fecal samples from representative subregions, but no eggs from E. granulosus s.l. were found. No documented cases of echinococcosis were reported from the local health-care institutions and the national diagnostic reference center in Gabon. Cystic echinococcosis seems to be very rare or absent in Gabon. The reason for this lack of evidence for echinococcosis is unknown, but the absence of livestock may play a major role.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Helminth / analysis
  • Dogs
  • Echinococcosis / epidemiology*
  • Echinococcosis / transmission
  • Echinococcus granulosus / physiology
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Gabon / epidemiology
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rural Population
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission


  • DNA, Helminth