Prevalence of Echinococcus Species in Wild Foxes and Stray Dogs in Qinghai Province, China

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  • 1 Department of Parasite Control, Qinghai Province Institute for Endemic Diseases Prevention and Control, Xining, China;
  • | 2 National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Chinese Center for Tropical Diseases Research), NHC Key Laboratory of Parasite and Vector Biology, WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical Diseases, National Center for International Research on Tropical Diseases, Shanghai, China;
  • | 3 Department of Medical Record Information, Qinghai Provincial Traffic Hospital, Xining, China

Echinococcosis is a zoonotic parasitic disease that is highly endemic to the Qinghai province of China. Limited data are available on the prevalence of the causal pathogen, Echinococcus spp., in definitive hosts in this region. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Echinococcus spp. in wild foxes and stray dogs in Qinghai province. Five hundred and twenty-eight feces from wild foxes and 277 from stray dogs were collected from 11 counties in the Golog, Yushu, and Haixi prefectures and screened for Echinococcus spp. using copro-DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In total, 5.5% of wild foxes and 15.2% of stray dogs tested positive for Echinococcus spp. The prevalence rates of Echinococcus spp. in wild foxes in Golog, Yushu, and Haixi were 7.3%, 5.2%, and 1.9%, respectively. In stray dogs, these rates were 13.3%, 17.3%, and 0%, respectively. Sequencing analysis determined that Echinococcus multilocularis was the most prevalent species, occurring in 4.0% and 12.6% of wild foxes and stray dogs, respectively. Echinococcus shiquicus was observed in 1.5% of wild foxes and 0.7% of stray dogs. Echinococcus granulosus was observed only in wild dogs, with a prevalence rate of 1.8%. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the prevalence of E. shiquicus in dogs in Qinghai province. The current results improve our understanding of the transmission and dissemination of human echinococcosis and suggest that exposure to the eggs of E. multilocularis harbored by wild foxes and stray dogs may pose a great risk of alveolar echinococcosis to humans in Qinghai province.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Xiao Ma, Department of Parasite Control, Qinghai Province Institute for Endemic Diseases Prevention and Control, Xining 811602, China, E-mail: maxiao0971@163.com or Yujuan Shen, National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Chinese Center for Tropical Diseases Research), NHC Key Laboratory of Parasite and Vector Biology, Shanghai 200025, China, E-mail: shenyj@nipd.chinacdc.cn.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Financial support: This work was supported by the health commission of Qinghai Province (Grant no. 2020-wjzd-15 to H. C.); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 81772224 and 82072307 to YS); and NHC Key Laboratory of Parasite and Vector Biology China (Grant no. WSBKTKT201404 to HC).

Authors’ addresses: Huixia Cai, Xuefei Zhang, Xiao Ma, Junying Ma, Na Liu, Yufang Liu, Jia Liu, Wei Wang, Wen Lei, Kemei Shi, Qing Zhang, Xiongying Zhang, and Peizhen Zhan, Department of Parasite Control, Qinghai Province Institute for Endemic Diseases Prevention and Control, Xining, China, E-mails: huixia_1107@163.com, 1730326847@qq.com, maxiao0971@163.com, mjy70315@163.com, 1060188129@qq.com, 289192520@qq.com, 457831207@qq.com, wwqhxn@126.com, 475986917@qq.com, 534663774@qq.com, 562709807@qq.com, 1510582718@qq.com, and 38069136@qq.com. Jing Zhang, Yayi Guan, Jianping Cao, and Yujuan Shen, National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, NHC Key Laboratory of Parasite and Vector Biology, WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical Diseases, National Center for International Research on Tropical Diseases, Shanghai, China, E-mails: silkfan@126.com, guan_ml@126.com, caojpcdc@163.com, and shenyj@nipd.chinacdc.cn. Hao Wu, Department of Medical Record Information, Qinghai Provincial Traffic Hospital, Xining, China, E-mail: 38992612@qq.com.

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