Indexed on: 25 Jan '07Published on: 25 Jan '07Published in: Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde
The history of echinococcosis in Europe includes a period of over 2000 years. Already in antiquity metacestodes (hydatids) of Echinococcus granulosus, the causative agents of Cystic Echinococcosis (CE), were observed in animals and humans. Alveolar Echinococcosis (AE), caused by metacestodes of E. multilocularis, was identified as a disease entity only in the middle of the 19th century. It took about 100 years until it was undoubtedly clarified and accepted that CE and AE are not caused by a single Echinococcus species, but by E. granulosus and E. multilocularis, respectively. In the 20th century significant progress has been achieved in echinococcosis research, including diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, immunology, molecular biology and other fields. However, CE and AE remain actual problems as in many endemic regions resources and structures are lacking for effective surveillance and control of these zoonoses threatening humans.