Echinococcus granulosus infection in domestic dogs in urban and rural areas of the Coquimbo region, north-central Chile

Gerardo Acosta-Jamett, Sarah Cleaveland, Mark Bronsvoort, Andrew A. Cunningham, Helen Bradshaw, Philip S. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydatidosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the cystic stage of the cestode parasite Echinoccocus granulosus, in which the definitive hosts are mainly domestic dogs. This parasite is regarded mainly as a rural disease, where man is exposed through contact with eggs excreted by definitive hosts; however, some studies have shown that domestic dogs can get infected within urban areas. This study was conducted to assess differences in prevalence of E. granulosus in urban and rural sites in Coquimbo region of Chile. From 2005 to 2006 a cross-sectional household questionnaire survey was conducted in Coquimbo and Ovalle cities, in three towns and in rural sites along two transects from these cities to the Fray Jorge NP in the Coquimbo region. Faecal samples were collected from dogs during the questionnaire survey and tested for Echinococcus coproantigens. Positive dogs were found in urban areas. Analysis of risk factors indicated that dogs inhabiting the borders of urban areas were at greater risk of being coproantigen positive than those in the centre of these areas. These results are likely to be related to the custom of slaughtering livestock at home in urban areas during local celebrations, which could favour the importation of E. granulosus to urban areas by acquiring livestock contaminated with cysts from rural sites. This study shows that surveillance and control measures in livestock and domestic dogs need to be introduced in urban areas as well as rural areas of the Coquimbo region to reduce the public health risk of hydatid disease. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2010


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