Echinococcus is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Antibiotic (ABX) Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Zoonotic cestode parasite: two major forms
    • Echinococcus granulosus: most common, cause of cystic echinococcosis (CE).
      • Intermediate hosts: sheep, cattle, pigs, camels, goats
      • Definitive hosts: dogs and other canids that eat internal organs of intermediate host.
        • Humans infected by ingestion of eggs indirectly from canid feces via environmental contamination of food/water.
    • E. multilocularis: less common, cause of alveolar (tumor-like) echinococcosis (AE).
      • Intermediate hosts: rodents, domestic pigs, wild boars, dog, monkeys
      • Definitive hosts: foxes, dogs, cats
      • Most cases described in Europe, Asia. Three cases described in North America.
    • Echinococcus vogeli (very rare): rodents intermediate host, while bush dogs definitive host in central, south America.
    • E. oligarthus (rare)
  • Larval forms (metacestodes) infectious to humans. Organism growth in host is extremely slow, hence often asymptomatic x many years.

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Last updated: April 4, 2016