Dogs as victims of their own worms: Serodiagnosis of canine alveolar echinococcosis.

Frey, Caroline; Marreros, N; Renneker, S; Schmidt, L; Sager, H; Hentrich, Brigitte; Milesi, S; Gottstein, Bruno (2017). Dogs as victims of their own worms: Serodiagnosis of canine alveolar echinococcosis. Parasites & Vectors, 10(1), p. 422. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13071-017-2369-0

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Besides acting as definitive hosts for Echinococcus multilocularis, dogs can become infected by the larval form of this parasite and thereby develop life-threatening alveolar echinococcosis (AE). Although AE is a zoonotic disease, most therapeutic and diagnostic approaches have been developed for human patients. In dogs, AE is typically diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease when the parasitic mass has already caused abdominal distension. At that stage, complete resection of the parasitic mass is often impossible, leaving a guarded prognosis for the affected dogs. For humans, sensitive and specific diagnostic protocols relying on serology have been validated and are now widely used. In contrast, sensitive and specific laboratory diagnostic tools that would enable early diagnosis of canine AE are still lacking. The aim of the current study was to establish a serological protocol specifically adapted to dogs.


We tested several native and recombinant antigens (EmVF, Em2, recEm95, recEm18) in in-house ELISA, an in-house Western blot (WB), as well as a commercially available WB developed for serodiagnosing human AE (Anti-Echinococcus EUROLINE-WB®), using a panel of known status dog sera.


RecEm95-antigen was revealed to be the most promising antigen for use in ELISA, demonstrating 100% (95% CI: 72-100%) sensitivity and 100% (95% CI: 93-100%) specificity in our study. The in-house WB using EmVF antigen performed as well as the recEm95-ELISA. The commercial WB also correctly identified all infected dogs, coupled with a specificity of 98% (95% CI: 91-100%).


The recEm95-ELISA alone or in combination with either the in-house WB or the Anti-Echinococcus EUROLINE-WB® (IgG) with a minor modification should be considered as the best current approach for the serological diagnosis of dogs infected with the larval stage of E. multilocularis. However, larger studies with a focus on potentially cross-reacting sera should be undertaken to verify these findings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Host-Pathogen Interaction
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Parasitology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Frey, Caroline; Hentrich, Brigitte and Gottstein, Bruno


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




BioMed Central




Achim Braun Parham

Date Deposited:

15 May 2018 15:05

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 02:43

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Alveolar echinococcosis Dog ELISA Echinococcus multilocularis RecEm95 Western blot




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