Main content area

A new intermediate host for Echinococcus multilocularis: The southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi) in urban landscape in Calgary, Canada

Liccioli, Stefano, Duignan, Pádraig J., Lejeune, Manigandan, Deunk, Joanna, Majid, Sultana, Massolo, Alessandro
Parasitology international 2013 v.62 no.4 pp. 355-357
Canidae, Echinococcus multilocularis, Lagomorpha, Lemmus sibiricus, Microtus oeconomus, Microtus pennsylvanicus, Peromyscus maniculatus, echinococcosis, humans, intermediate hosts, landscapes, models, monitoring, parasites, parasitology, protoscoleces, surveys, voles, Alberta
Human Alveolar Echinococcosis (HAE) is a potentially fatal parasitic disease caused by Echinococcus multilocularis, a cestode characterized by a sylvatic life-cycle involving several species of rodents and lagomorphs as intermediate hosts and canids as definitive hosts. Despite the wide distribution of the parasite in North America, the number of competent intermediate host species identified to date is still relatively small, and mainly includes the northern vole (Microtus oeconomus), brown lemming (Lemmus sibiricus), northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus), deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) and meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). By monitoring the infections in rodents in the city of Calgary (Alberta, Canada), we have detected a case of severe alveolar echinococcosis in a southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi), a species never reported before as an intermediate host for this parasite. Observation of protoscolices in the intra-abdominal multilocular cysts indicates that M. gapperi could act as a competent intermediate host for the transmission of E. multilocularis. Since M. gapperi can be found in close proximity to, and within metropolitan areas, this species could play a role in the establishment and maintenance of the sylvatic life-cycle of E. multilocularis in urban landscapes, where the potential for zoonotic transmission is higher. The new intermediate host reported needs to be taken into account in future surveys and transmission models for this parasite.