Human Infections withDicrocoelium dendriticumin Kyrgyzstan: The Tip of the Iceberg?

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Abstract

Dicrocoelium dendriticum is the causative agent of a rare food-borne zoonosis of the human biliary tract, dicrocoeliasis, for which few human prevalence data are available. Infection occurs through the ingestion of ants containing metacercariae, whereas pseudo-infections (presence of D. dendriticum eggs in stool in the absence of adult worms) are due to the consumption of infected animal liver. Here, results from a cross-sectional survey carried out among 138 children aged 2-15 yr in a peri-urban area of Kyrgyzstan are reported. Each child provided 1 stool sample that was subjected to the FLOTAC technique. Eggs of D. dendriticum were diagnosed in 11 children (prevalence 8.0%; 95% confidence interval 4.5-13.7%). Although no distinction could be made between true and pseudo-infections, the prevailing animal husbandry system and the diet and hygienic conditions of the study area suggest that the social-ecological system in Kyrgyzstan is conducive for human transmission of D. dendriticum. There is a need to investigate the epidemiology of dicrocoeliasis in Kyrgyzstan, placing emphasis on the distinction between true and pseudo-infections.

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