Volume 61, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The inhabitants of a rural community in southwestern Germany were examined for alveolar echinococcosis (AE). The study was prompted by the recent increase of the prevalence of the parasite in foxes and the increase of fox populations: in the study area, 75% of the foxes carried Echinococcus multilocularis. The human population was screened using hepatic ultrasound and serology. All participants were interviewed for demographic and potential risk factors. Of 2,560 participants, one was identified with active AE, while 3 others had suspicious liver lesions. Another 9 participants were seropositive for specific antibodies without detectable lesions. Demographic and behavioral factors were not correlated with active or suspected cases nor with seropositivity. If the prevalence of 40/100,000 (95% confidence interval = 15-295/100,000) for active cases would be representative for the rural population in high endemicity areas, the current number of AE cases in southwestern Germany is considerably higher than previously suspected.


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