Epidemiology of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato in the Greater Horn of Africa: A systematic review

WG Aregawi, B Levecke, H Ashenafi, C Byaruhanga, N Kebede, E Mulinge, M Wassermann, T Romig, P Dorny, V Dermauw

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a neglected zoonotic disease that is caused by Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.), the life cycle of which involves multiple hosts. We conducted a systematic review (SR) on E. granulosus s.l. in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), to provide a picture of its recent epidemiology across all hosts.

For this SR, conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, five electronic databases, as well experts in the region were consulted to retrieve records published between 2000 and 2022, reporting the presence of E. granulosus s.l. infections in any natural host in the GHA (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda).

Principal findings
A total of 247 records were retained, describing the presence of E. granulosus s.l. throughout the GHA, except for Djibouti. Only few population surveys on human CE were conducted in the area, with the prevalence ranging between 0.3 and 11.3%. In animals, the reported prevalence ranged up to 61.6% in camels, 88.4% in cattle; 65.2% in goats, 9.9% in pigs, 67.8% in sheep and 94.5% in dogs. In addition, E. granulosus s.l. was also reported in wildlife. A total of five species were reported in the different hosts, namely E. granulosus sensu stricto (G1, G3, GOmo), E. canadensis (G6/7), E. ortleppi (G5), E. felidis, and E. equinus (G4).

We confirm that E. granulosus s.l. is prevalent throughout the GHA. Nevertheless, despite our efforts to screen grey literature, an accurate assessment of the epidemiology in GHA remains challenging, due to the lack of combined host, in-depth risk factor and behavioural studies, as well as the wide diversity in subpopulations studied and diagnostic tools used. Interdisciplinary and transboundary partnerships would be essential for the design of effective control strategies, tuned to the GHA setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0011894
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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