General Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Cystic echinococcosis (CE) disease results from being infected with the larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus, a tiny tapeworm (~2-7 millimeters in length) found in dogs (definitive host), sheep, cattle, goats, foxes, and pigs, amongst others (intermediate hosts). Most infections in humans are asymptomatic, but CE, also known as hydatid disease, causes slowly enlarging masses, most commonly in the liver and the lungs. Treatment can involve both medication and surgery.

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Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) disease results from being infected with the larval stage of Echinococcus multilocularis, a tiny tapeworm (~1-4 millimeters in length) found in foxes, coyotes, dogs, and cats (definitive hosts). Although human cases are rare, infection in humans causes parasitic tumors to form in the liver, and, less commonly, the lungs, brain, and other organs. If left untreated, infection with AE can be fatal.

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Page last reviewed: July 14, 2014