Home > Pestilence > Potentially Dangerous Coyote Tapeworm That Infects Dogs And Humans Is Spreading To Cities

Potentially Dangerous Coyote Tapeworm That Infects Dogs And Humans Is Spreading To Cities

The Canadian Press – “Animal health researchers are watching what appears to be mounting evidence of the spread of a potentially dangerous parasite in coyotes, foxes and other animals in Canada.

That’s a concern, they suggest, because the parasite, a tapeworm, can on occasion spill over from its wild animal hosts to infect dogs and humans.

And while people aren’t the tapeworm’s preferred hosts, a growing number of human cases are being seen in Europe and parts of the world where the parasite is more established…

The researchers are keen not to incite undue alarm. It would appear, they say, that the risk to Canadians is low. But they say the situation bears continued scrutiny, especially in light of the fact that urban sprawl in cities like Calgary is leading to closer contact between coyotes and domestic animals.

‘It seems like there is a real route for coyotes to bring this into the cities and into dog parks,’ says Emily Jenkins, a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s department of veterinary microbiology and school of public health.

‘I think there’s a need for a risk assessment. And I think there’s a need for enhanced surveillance — if only to get baselines to say, ‘Oh, yeah, this is the prevalence now’ and ‘Oh, look, it’s not changing’ or ‘Oh, look, it is.’

‘But getting that on the radar of a particular public or animal health agency is challenging.’

The parasite is called Echinococcus multilocularis. Scientists sometimes call it E. multi for short. When it infects people, the parasite causes a condition called alveolar echinococcosis, with tumour-like cysts forming in the liver, lungs or sometimes the brain.

A study published in 2010 in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases estimated that about 18,200 human cases occur globally every year, with 90 per cent of them recorded in China…

But the range of the parasite — which is a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon — is expanding.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence
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