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Echinococcus granulosus (‘pig strain’, G6/7) in Southwestern Lithuania

  • Mindaugas Šarkūnas1,
  • Rasa Bružinskaitė1, 3,
  • Audronė Marcinkutė2,
  • Alexander Mathis3 and
  • Peter Deplazes3
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica201052(Suppl 1):S14

Published: 13 October 2010


Hydatid CystEchinococcosisEchinococcusCystic EchinococcosisHuman Isolate


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) of pigs is widespread and known since many years in Lithuania [1]. Recently, the number of diagnosed cases of human CE began to increase [2] but only limited information is available on the main epidemiological aspects of this zoonosis.

Material and methods

During 2005-2006, post slaughter examination and morphological identification of cysts from pigs from small family farms (n=612) and industrial farms (n=73) was performed. Dog fecal samples (n=240) were collected in 12 villages and microscopically examined by egg flotation/sieving (F/Si) [3] and modified McMaster methods [4]). For the genetic identification of E. granulosus to species/strain level, PCR was performed with DNA from typical hydatid cysts from pigs (n=2), morphologically unidentifiable lesions from pigs (n=3), nonfertile cysts from cattle (n=3) and taeniid eggs from dog faecal samples (n=34) [5]. Risk factors for cystic echinococcosis were evaluated by a questionnaire.


CE was prevalent in 13.2% (81/612) of the pigs reared in small family farms and 4.1% of those reared in industrial farms. Molecular analysis of isolated taeniid eggs revealed in 10.8% of the dogs investigated Taenia spp., in 3.8% E. granulosu s (G 6/7) and in 0.8% E. multilocularis. In addition, three samples from livers of human and from a cow were confirmed as E. granulosus larval stage by PCR. Sequence analysis confirmed the ‘pig strain’ (G 6/7) in all pig, dog, cattle and human isolates investigated. No significant risk factor for infections with E. granulosus or Taenia spp. could be identified.


The ‘pig strain’ of E. granulosus is highly prevalent in the southwestern part of Lithuania, and transmission is more likely in small family farms indicating a high exposure to cestode eggs in rural areas. Therefore control programs should be initiated with special reference to small family farms.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Infectious Diseases, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Kaunas, Lithuania
Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Microbiology and Dermatovenereology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Institute of Parasitology, University of Zürich, Switzerland


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© Šarkūnas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.