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First detection of Echinococcus multilocularis in rodent intermediate hosts in Turkey



Echinococcus multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis (AE), a potentially fatal zoonotic disease. Large parts of Turkey are considered as endemic for E. multilocularis. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of metacestode of E. multilocularis in wild rodents in Erzurum, an endemic region for human AE in Turkey. During the sampling period, a total of 498 rodents were trapped in twenty counties of Erzurum Province. Suspected lesions were observed on the livers of 48 rodents, and then partial fragment of mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene was PCR-amplified. Five liver samples exhibited E. multilocularis infection. The prevalence of E. multilocularis for Microtus spp. was 1·3%. All of the infected rodents had fertile metacestodes. Infected rodents were morphologically and molecularly analysed and were confirmed to be Microtus irani by the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequence analysis. This is the first report of the presence of E. multilocularis in rodent intermediate hosts in Turkey. Our findings of infected M. irani with protoscoleces show that this rodent can act as suitable intermediate host for E. multilocularis’ life cycle in Turkey. However, there was a complete lack of data on the infection of carnivores from the country. An extensive survey is recommended to determine the prevalence of E. multilocularis in definitive hosts in this endemic region.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Atatürk University, Erzurum 25240, Turkey. E-mail:


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First detection of Echinococcus multilocularis in rodent intermediate hosts in Turkey



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