Congratulations to MEmE project on their latest publication in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal! This is the first quantitative study that aims to decrease the limit of uncertainty on the impact of human cystic echinococcosis in Europe.
Cystic echinococcosis caused by the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato complex is a parasitic infectious disease, regarded as a neglected zoonosis by the WHO. This disease mainly affects pastoral and rural communities in both low-income and upper-middle-income countries, even in Europe where cases are also generally under-reported by national health systems.
To fill this gap, the study extracted data on the number, incidence, and trend of human cases in Europe through a systematic review approach, for the period of publication from 1997 to 2021. The highest number of possible human cases at the national level was calculated from various data sources to generate a descriptive model of cystic echinococcosis in Europe. This study identified a total of around 65,000 human cases in 40 European countries (prevalence of 0.64 cases/100,000 people) during 1997 to 2021. Key findings included:
- For the years 2017–19, the total number of cystic echinococcosis cases was four-fold higher than for The European Surveillance System (TESSy) data.
- Decreasing trends have been recorded in most southern Mediterranean and some eastern European countries, where cystic echinococcosis has traditionally been highly prevalent.
- Increasing trends have been identified in some eastern and south-eastern European countries and unexpectedly in most non-endemic countries of northern and western Europe.
- Based on incidence and trends from 2017–19, the current epicentre of cystic echinococcosis in Europe is represented by the Balkan Peninsula.
Cystic echinococcosis in Europe remains a relevant public health issue. The findings from this study should be used to support the planning of surveillance and control programmes in Europe according to the WHO 2021–2030 roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Ten authors on this paper from Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Polish National Veterinary Research Institute (PIWet), Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) and the University of Tartu (UT) collaborated under MEmE project for this study. Thanks to all co-authors for their contributions to this publication:
Casulli A, Abela-Ridder, B., Petrone, D., Fabiani, M., Bobić, B., Carmena, D., Šoba, B., Zerem, E., Gargaté, M. J., Kuzmanovska, G,, Calomfirescu, C., Rainova, I., Sotiraki, S., Lungu, V., Dezsényi, B., Herrador, Z., Karamon, J., Maksimov, P., Oksanen, A., Millon, L., Sviben, M., Shkjezi, R., Gjoni, V., Akshija ,I., Saarma, U., Torgerson, P., Šnábel, V., Antolová, D., Muhovic, D., Besim, H., Chereau, F., Belhassen, García M., Chappuis ,F., Gloor, S., Stoeckle, M., Müllhaupt, B., Manno, V., Santoro, A., Santolamazza, F. (2022). Unveiling the incidences and trends of the neglected zoonosis cystic echinococcosis in Europe: a systematic review from the MEmE project. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 22 Nov 2022, S1473-3099(22)00638-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00638-7
MEmE project is a multi-centre, international, research collaboration that has developed and harmonised diagnostic tests and produced quantitative epidemiological data for the detection and control of cystic and alveolar echinococcosis in Europe, caused by Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis, respectively.