Unravelling the genetic diversity and relatedness of Echinococcus multilocularis isolates in Eurasia using the EmsB microsatellite nuclear marker

Gerald Umhang, Vanessa Bastid, Hamza Avcioglu, Guna Bagrade, Miljenko Bujanic, Oliveira Bjelic Cabrilo, Adriano Casulli, Pierre Dorny, Joke van der Giessen, Esin Guven, Jiri Harna, Jacek Karamon, Vitaliy Kharchenko, Jenny Knapp, Libuse Kolarova, Sergey Konyaev, Leidi Laurimaa, Serge Losch, Milan Miljevic, Martina MiterpakovaEpp Moks, Thomas Romig, Urmas Saarma, Viliam Snabel, Tamas Sreter, Harri Valdmann, Franck Bou

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


    The cestode Echinococcus multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis, a severe helminthic zoonotic disease distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The lifecycle of the parasite is mainly sylvatic, involving canid and rodent hosts. The absence of genetic data from most eastern European countries is a major knowledge gap, affecting the study of associations with parasite populations in Western Europe. In this study, EmsB microsatellite genotyping of E. multilocularis was performed to describe the genetic diversity and relatedness of 785 E. multilocularis isolates from four western and nine eastern European countries, as well as from Armenia and the Asian parts of Russia and Turkey. The presence of the same E. multilocularis populations in the Benelux resulting from expansion from the historical Alpine focus can be deduced from the main profiles shared between these countries. All 33 EmsB profiles obtained from 528 samples from the nine eastern European countries belonged to the European clade, except one Asian profile form Ryazan Oblast, Russia. The expansion of E. multilocularis seems to have progressed from the historical Alpine focus through Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and southern Poland towards Latvia and Estonia. Most of the samples from Asia belong to the Asian clade, with one EmsB profile shared between Armenia and Turkey, and two between Turkey and Russia. However, two European profiles were described from two foxes in Turkey, including one harboring worms from both European and Asian clades. Three EmsB profiles from three Russian samples were associated with the Arctic clade. Two E. multilocularis profiles from rodents from Lake Baikal belonged to the Mongolian clade, described for the first time here using EmsB. Further worldwide studies on the genetic diversity of E. multilocularis using both mitochondrial sequencing and EmsB genotyping are needed to understand the distribution and expansion of the various clades.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104863
    JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Echinococcus multilocularis
    • EmsB microsatellite
    • Parasite expansion
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • 1ST RECORD

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