Canine echinococcosis in northwest Libya: assessment of coproantigen ELISA, and a survey of infection with analysis of risk-factors.

Original article


Buishi IE, Njoroge EM, Bouamra O, Craig PS.

Cestode Zoonoses Research Group, Bioscience Research Institute and School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, Greater Manchester M5 4WT, UK.

Vet Parasitol. 2005 Jun 30;130(3-4):223-32.


In order to determine the prevalence and risk factors for canine echinococcosis in different endemic localities in the Tripoli area of northwest Libya, stray dogs were examined post-mortem, and owned dogs screened for Echinococcus granulosus infection using a standardised genus specific coproantigen ELISA. The prevalence of E. granulosus infection at necropsy in stray-dogs was 25.8% (15/58, 95% CI 15.3-39.0%), and 21.6% (72/334, 95% CI 17.3-26.4%) of owned dogs tested were positive by coproantigen ELISA. Sheepdogs appeared to have a significantly higher copro-positive prevalence (19/19 positive, p=0.003), compared to 23.6% of other dog classes (e.g. 52/220 guard dogs and household pets). Worm burdens in necropsied dogs ranged from 29 to 2900 (mean 1064) and were positively correlated to coproantigen ELISA OD values (r(s)=0.87, p<0.001), but negatively correlated with dog age (r(s)=-0.69, p=0.001). Dog age was a significant factor in copro-prevalence as there was an increasing coproantigen-positive tendency in younger dogs (< or =5 years, p=0.04). A total of 45/132 (34%, 95% CI 25.9-42.1%) of farms/homestead had at least one dog that was coproantigen positive. Overall copro-prevalence in dogs by locality varied, with Alkhums (Leptis-Magna) district having the highest copro-prevalence at 38.7% (24/62, 95% CI 26.6-50.8%) (p=0.001). Coproantigen testing of a cohort of owned dogs before and approximately 15 months after praziquantel treatment showed a significant decrease in the coproantigen positive rate from 21.6% (72/334) to 9% (21/233) post-treatment. The overall E. granulosus coproantigen positive rate ('re-infection rate') within the same cohort of dogs was 22 % (10/45) by 15 months post-treatment. Significant risk factors for a copro-positive owned dog were associated with non-restraint of dogs, and owners that did not de-worm their dogs. Home slaughtering of livestock and lack of knowledge about E. granulosus transmission were also significant risk factors for a canine coproantigen positive result. Keywords: Echinococcus granulosus; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Coproantigen; Libya Link/DOI: