National Park Service


Date of this Version



Emerging Infectious Diseases

Vol. 24, No. 2, February 2018




Alveolar and cystic echinococcosis are emerging and re-emerging in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The expansion of Echinococcus spp. tapeworms in wildlife host reservoirs appears to be driving this emergence in some areas. Recent studies suggest a similar phenomenon may be occurring in North America. We describe the context of Echinococcus spp. research in North America, with a specific focus on the contiguous United States. Although studies were conducted in the United States throughout the 1900s on various sylvatic and domestic Echinococcus spp. tapeworm cycles, data are lacking for the past ≈30 years. We review previous research, provide analysis of more recent focal studies, and suggest that Echinococcus spp. tapeworms, in particular E. canadensis, may be underrecognized. As a result, we suggest that additional research and surveillance be conducted for these tapeworms in wildlife host reservoirs across the United States.