J Pediatr Infect Dis 2008; 03(01): 013-020
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1556959
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart – New York

Echinococcosis: A brief review

Pedro Moro
a  Immunization Safety Office, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
Peter M. Schantz
b  Division of Parasitic Diseases, Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

14 June 2007

15 August 2007

Publication Date:
28 July 2015 (online)


Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is the infection of humans by the larval stages of taeniid cestodes of the genus Echinococcus. Three species of public health importance, Echinococcus granulosus, E. multilocularis, and E. vogeli respectively, cause cystic, alveolar and polycystic echinococcosis respectively, and are the subject of this review. Several studies have shown that these diseases are an increasing public health concern and that both can be regarded as emerging or re-emerging diseases. In this review, we discuss aspects of their biology, life cycle, etiology, distribution, and transmission of the Echinococcus organisms, and the epidemiology, clinical features, treatment, and effect of improved diagnosis of the diseases they cause. New sensitive and specific diagnostic methods and effective therapeutic approaches against echinococcosis have been developed in the last 10 years. Despite some progress in the control of echinococcosis, this zoonosis continues to be a major public health problem in several countries and in several others; it constitutes an emerging and re-emerging disease.