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World J Gastroenterol. Apr 7, 2012; 18(13): 1425-1437
Published online Apr 7, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i13.1425
Worldwide epidemiology of liver hydatidosis including the Mediterranean area
Giuseppe Grosso, Salvatore Gruttadauria, Antonio Biondi, Stefano Marventano, Antonio Mistretta
Giuseppe Grosso, Stefano Marventano, Antonio Mistretta, Department “G. F. Ingrassia” Section of Hygiene and Public Health, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Salvatore Gruttadauria, Istituto Mediterraneo Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Italy, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Antonio Biondi, Section of General Surgery and Oncology, Department of General Surgery, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Author contributions: Gruttadauria S and Biondi A performed research and provided a critical review of results; Marventano S analyzed the data; Grosso G and Mistretta A wrote the paper.
Correspondence to: Antonio Mistretta, MD, PhD, Department “G. F. Ingrassia” Section of Hygiene and Public Health, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia N. 85-95123, 95123 Catania, Italy.
Telephone: +39-095-3782182 Fax: +39-095-3782177
Received: July 2, 2011
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.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Echinococcus granulosus, Cystic echinococcosis