Echinococcus

There is evidence that the cervid strain of Echinococcus granulosus occurs in Norway, Sweden, and Finland in a dog/reindeer cycle (Eckert and Thompson 1988). This strain can cause human infections, and autochthonous cases have been reported in reindeer breeders in northern Sweden (Lindholm and Lantto 1968; Huldt et al. 1973). Till date prevalence figures of echinococcosis in the Nordic countries are not available, but over the years studies of diagnosed human cystic echinococcosis in Sweden and Norway have been presented. However, the prevalence has fallen drastically and most cases are today imported.

Echinococcus granulosus cysts were found in the lungs of 0.3-2.1% of slaughtered reindeer in northern Sweden, according to reports from 1960 to 1972 (Roneus 1974). In 1969, 1.2% of reindeer were reported to be infected with cysts in Finland and in areas bordering northern Sweden (Stossel 1989). In

1978, northern Norway introduced one annual praziquantel treatment of dogs and their exclusion from slaughter places, which resulted in a decrease in the prevalence of E. granulosus cysts in the lungs of reindeer from 1.45 to 0.17%. (Kummeneje 1982). Today very few infected reindeer are recognized in the north.

Human E. multilocularis infections have not yet been reported from this northern part of Europe. However, there are reports showing that the infection is spreading northwards from Central Europe (Eckert and Deplazes 1999). In the beginning of 2000, the first E. multilocularis-infected fox (and one mouse) was reported from the Nordic countries, the fox was killed in a traffic accident in Copenhagen, Denmark (Petersen and Kapel 2000).

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