Parasitology



Echinococcus multilocularis on Svalbard: introduction of an intermediate host has enabled the local life-cycle


H.  HENTTONEN  a1 c1, E.  FUGLEI  a2, C. N.  GOWER  a3, V.  HAUKISALMI  a1, R. A.  IMS  a4, J.  NIEMIMAA  a1 and N. G.  YOCCOZ  a5
a1 Vantaa Research Centre, Finnish Forest Research Institute, POB 18, FIN-010301 Vantaa, Finland
a2 Norwegian Polar Institute, The Polar Environmental Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway
a3 Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, POB 111, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland
a4 Institute of Biology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
a5 Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Division of Arctic Ecology, The Polar Environmental Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway

Article author query
henttonen h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fuglei e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gower c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
haukisalmi v   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ims r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
niemimaa j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
yoccoz n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The taeniid tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis is here reported for the first time at the Svalbard Archipelago in the Norwegian Arctic. This new finding is interesting because the establishment of E. multilocularis is due to a recent anthropogenic introduction of its intermediate host – the sibling vole Microtus rossiaemeridionalis at Svalbard. The parasite itself has probably become naturally transferred to Svalbard due to migratory movements of its final host – the arctic fox Alopex lagopus between source areas for E. multilocularis in Siberia and Svalbard. We report macroscopically determined prevalence of E. multilocularis from a sample of 224 voles trapped in August in 1999 and 2000. The prevalence was among the highest ever recorded in intermediate hosts and was dependent on age and sex of the hosts approaching 100% in overwintered males. The high prevalence and the simplicity of the vole – arctic fox – E. multilocularis system at Svalbard makes it an eminent model system for further epidemiological studies.

(Received March 30 2001)
(Revised July 12 2001)
(Accepted July 12 2001)


Key Words: Echinococcus multilocularis; rodents; Microtus voles; arctic fox; parasites; Svalbard.

Correspondence:
c1 Corresponding author: Vantaa Research Centre, Finnish Forest Research Institute, POB 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland. Tel: +358 9 85705477. Fax: +358 9 85705531. E-mail: Heikki.Henttonen@metla.fi


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