A field study to control Echinococcus multilocularis-infections of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in an endemic focus
Foxes harbouring E. multilocularis represent an important source for human infection with this parasite which causes alveolar echinococcosis. To minimize the risk of human infection, a control study was conducted to reduce the prevalence of E. multilocularis-infection in foxes in an focal endemic area of 5000 km2. Foxes were given access to baits containing 50 mg praziquantel. Twenty baits per km2 were distributed by airplane during 14 campaigns. The effects of control measures were monitored by parasitological examination of 9387 foxes shot before and during the control trial. A distinct reduction of the prevalence of E. multilocularis was observed for both, the initially endemic area and the low-endemic periphery. The effect was more pronounced in adult than in juvenile foxes. Under control conditions, the risk area decreased in size. However, an eradication of the parasite was not reached with the chosen strategy.(Accepted July 26 2001)
c1 Author for correspondence: Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals, Institute for Epidemiological Diagnostics, Seestr. 55, D-16868 Wusterhausen, Germany.