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Human cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a widespread zoonosis. Cases occurring in Germany are considered to result from imported infection and it is unclear if Echinococcus granulosus (sensu lato) is still transmitted in Germany. Therefore, exposure was investigated in 15 patients with cystic echinococcosis (7 female, 8 male; age-range 16-68, with a median of 48 years) who grew up in Germany. Fourteen patients had most likely acquired their infection in rural Germany, 11 from local dogs, one from an imported dog, two without obvious dog contacts. Taking into account multiple conceivable confounding factors might also account for some of infections: contacts with imported dogs or contact with dogs during travel in highly endemic regions, and ingestion of food contaminated by worm ova, whether in Germany or abroad. However, in at least two cases autochthonous transmission is beyond doubt, because these patients had never left Germany. The long pre-symptomatic development of cystic echinococcosis does not allow for a precise evaluation of the actual epidemiological situation. Compulsory notification of human cystic echinococcosis is an important instrument in the surveillance of the disease in humans. Regular inquiries at laboratories carrying out work in the field of veterinary medicine and at slaughterhouses, supervision of dogs at risk as well as genetic investigations on the strain or species of the causal agent of cystic echinococcosis are needed.


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