Past and present of cystic echinococcosis in bolivia

Viterman Ali, Eddy Martinez, Pamela Duran, Erick Villena, Peter Deplazes, Cristian A. Alvarez Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Viable eggs of the canine intestinal tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.) infect various intermediate hosts causing cystic echinococcosis (CE). Furthermore, CE represents a serious zoonosis causing a significant global burden of disease. CE is highly endemic in South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru. For Bolivia, no official data concerning the incidence in humans or the number of livestock and dogs infected are available. However, it is well known that CE occurs in Bolivia. We aim here to fill the gap in the current knowledge of the epidemiological situation of CE in Bolivia, providing a historical overview of documents published within the country, which have never been comprehensively reviewed. The very first documentation of E. granulosus infection in animals dates in 1910, while the first human case was reported in 1913. In total, 876 human CE cases have been reported in the scientific literature, with an apparent increase since the 1970s. In the absence of other epidemiological studies, the highest prevalence in human comes from Tupiza, Potosí Department, where 4.1% (51/1,268) of the population showed signs of CE at mass ultrasound screening in 2011. In the same report, 24% of dog faecal samples were positive for coproantigens of E. granulosus s.l. in ELISA. The highest prevalence in intermediate hosts reported at abattoir reached 37.5% in cattle from Potosí, followed by 26.9% in llamas from Oruro, 2.4% in pigs and 1.4% in sheep from La Paz. Finally, Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.), Echinococcus ortleppi (G5), and Echinococcus intermedius (G7) have been identified in Bolivia. Data reviewed here confirm that E. granulosus s.l. is circulating in Bolivia and that a proper prospective nationwide epidemiological study of CE is urgently needed to define transmission patterns as a basis for the planning and implementation of future control measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009426
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by a Mobility Grant by the Leading House of the Latin American Region/State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Switzerland (MOB1820) to CAAR. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.We express our gratitude to the colleagues who supplied documents that were not available in the sources mentioned above; the collaboration of Dr Rolando Costa Arduz was invaluable in this project. We thank Patricia Nogales for supplying the image of a liver infected withE.granulosus used as striking image in this review.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Ali et al.


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