Published online Apr 7, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i13.1425
Revised: September 17, 2011
Accepted: October 14, 2011
Published online: April 7, 2012
The worldwide incidence and prevalence of cystic echinococcosis have fallen dramatically over the past several decades. Nonetheless, infection with Echinococcus granulosus (E. granulosus) remains a major public health issue in several countries and regions, even in places where it was previously at low levels, as a result of a reduction of control programmes due to economic problems and lack of resources. Geographic distribution differs by country and region depending on the presence in that country of large numbers of nomadic or semi-nomadic sheep and goat flocks that represent the intermediate host of the parasite, and their close contact with the final host, the dog, which mostly provides the transmission of infection to humans. The greatest prevalence of cystic echinococcosis in human and animal hosts is found in countries of the temperate zones, including several parts of Eurasia (the Mediterranean regions, southern and central parts of Russia, central Asia, China), Australia, some parts of America (especially South America) and north and east Africa. Echinococcosis is currently considered an endemic zoonotic disease in the Mediterranean region. The most frequent strain associated with human cystic echinococcosis appears to be the common sheep strain (G1). This strain appears to be widely distributed in all continents. The purpose of this review is to examine the distribution of E. granulosus and the epidemiology of a re-emerging disease such as cystic echinococcosis.