Human alveolar echinococcosis, caused by the metacestode stage of Echinococcus multilocularis, is one of the most pathogenic zoonoses in the temperate and arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere. To investigate the spatial distribution of E. multilocularis and the factors influencing this distribution in the recently identified endemic area of Hungary, 1612 red fox (Vulpes vulpes) carcasses were randomly collected from the whole Hungarian territory from November 2008 to February 2009 and from November 2012 to February 2013. The topographic positions of foxes were recorded in geographic information system database. The digitized home ranges and the vector data were used to calculate the altitude, mean annual temperature, annual precipitation, soil water retention, soil permeability, areas of land cover types and the presence and buffer zone of permanent water bodies within the fox territories. The intestinal mucosa from all the foxes was tested by sedimentation and counting technique. Multiple regression analysis was performed with environmental parameter values and E. multilocularis counts. The spatial distribution of the parasite was clumped. Based on statistical analysis, mean annual temperature and annual precipitation were the major determinants of the spatial distribution of E. multilocularis in Hungary. It can be attributed to the sensitivity of E. multilocularis eggs to high temperatures and desiccation. Although spreading and emergence of the parasite was observed in Hungary before 2009, the prevalence and intensity of infection did not change significantly between the two collection periods. It can be explained by the considerably lower annual precipitation before the second collection period.
- Echinococcus multilocularis
- Geographic information system
- Spatial distribution
ASJC Scopus subject areas