Echinococcus multilocularis in Urban Coyotes, Alberta, Canada


Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic parasite in wild canids. We determined its frequency in urban coyotes (Canis latrans) in Alberta, Canada. We detected E. multilocularis in 23 of 91 coyotes in this region. This parasite is a public health concern throughout the Northern Hemisphere, partly because of increased urbanization of wild canids.

Echinococcus multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis in humans. This disease is a serious problem because it requires costly long-term therapy, has high case-fatality rate, and is increasing in incidence in Europe (1). This parasitic cestode has a predominantly wild animal cycle involving foxes (Vulpes spp.) and other wild canids, including coyotes (Canis latrans), as definitive hosts. However, it can also establish an anthropogenic life cycle in which dogs and cats are the final hosts. Rodents are the primary intermediate hosts in which the alveolar/multivesicular hydatid cysts grow and are often fatal. Humans are aberrant intermediate hosts for E. multilocularis (2).”


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