MEmE: Multi-centre study on Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus s.l. in Europe: development and harmonisation of diagnostic methods in the food chain

Start: 1 January 2020
Duration: 2.5 Years
Domain: Emerging Threats
Key Words: Echinococcus spp., cystic and alveolar echinococcosis, helminth parasites, molecular epidemiology, zoonotic helminths.
Contact: Adriano Casulli (ISS)

The Project #MEME

MEmE is a multicentre collaborative international project aiming to fill the research gaps highlighted by international agencies (EFSA, ECDC, WHO) for the detection and control of cystic and alveolar echinococosis (CE and AE, respectively).

MEmE, expanding the results of previous European projects, will focus on both the standardisation, harmonisation and validation of existing parasitological and molecular methods, and the development and comparative assessment of innovative molecular tools and biomarkers to detect Echinococcus multilocularis (Em) and Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (Eg) in the food chain. These tasks will be conducted in line with OIE principles and methods of validation of diagnostic assays for infectious diseases. A biomarker discovery task will also focus on the proteomic analysis of exosomes in sheep plasma, to develop innovative tools for the detection of CE the natural intermediate host.

Production of epidemiological data on the presence of Em/Eg eggs in the food chain will focus on vegetables for human consumption as well as dogs’ faeces in selected endemic countries. Moreover, food source-targeted questionnaires will be developed and administered to a sample of patients with CE, in selected hospitals, including those registered in the European Register of CE (ERCE), and AE and matched controls, to advance our knowledge on food-related risk factors for human infection.

Long term capacity building and alignment of European research strategies at national and EU level is expected through the MEmE network, which includes inter alia the European Reference Laboratory for Parasites, WHO Collaborating Centres, OIE Collaborating Centres, National reference laboratories for parasites/Echinococcus and the HERACLES Extended Network. Organisation and delivery of parasitological and molecular Proficiency Testing Schemes on the validated techniques will be organised by the MEmE network, after organisation of specific training through short exchange visits for key personnel between network laboratories. Some of the techniques validated for detection of Em/Eg may also be translated to epidemiology and diagnosis of human infections, within a One Health approach.

Altogether, MEmE will provide a comprehensive set of relevant integrative activities (including development and validation of protocols, collection of biological material, capacity building, and epidemiological investigations). These will allow partner organisations to harmonise procedures, improve detection of Eg and Em, and define control strategies based on the occurrence of these pathogens in the food chain and the relative importance of their foodborne transmission.


Casulli, A., Massolo, A., Saarma, U., Umhang, G., Santolamazza, F., Santoro, A. (2022). Species and genotypes belonging to Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato complex causing human cystic echinococcosis in Europe (2000–2021): a systematic review. Parasites Vectors. 15109. DOI:

Korhonen, P.K., Kinkar, L., Young, N.D. et al. (2022). Chromosome-scale Echinococcus granulosus (genotype G1) genome reveals the Eg95 gene family and conservation of the EG95-vaccine molecule. Communications Biology. 5199. DOI:

Issa, A.R., Arif, S.H., Mohammed, A.A., Santolamazza, F., Santoro, A., Mero, W.M.S., Casulli, A. (2022). Insights into Human Cystic Echinococcosis in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq: Characteristics and Molecular Identification of Cysts. Pathogens. 11(4), 408. DOI:

Khan, H., Casulli, A., Harandi, M.F., Afzal, M.S., Saqib, M.A.N., Ahmed, H. A (2022). Retrospective Cohort Study on Human Cystic Echinococcosis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (Pakistan) Based on 16 Years of Hospital Discharge Records. Pathogens. 11, 194. DOI:

Barth, T.F.E, Casulli, A. (2021). Morphological Characteristics of Alveolar and Cystic Echinococcosis Lesions in Human Liver and Bone. Pathogens. 10, 1326. DOI:

Schares, G., Joeres, M., Rachel, F., Tuschy, M., Czirják, GÁ., Maksimov, P., Conraths, FJ., Wachter, B. (2021). Molecular analysis suggests that Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are definitive hosts of a so far undescribed Besnoitia species. Parasites and Vectors. 14, 201. DOI:

Casulli, A, (2021). New global targets for NTDs in the WHO roadmap 2021–2030. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 15(5):e0009373. DOI:

Bonelli, P., Dei Giudici, S., Peruzzu, A., Mura, L., Santucciu, C., Maestrale, C., Masala, G. (2021). Identification of Echinococcus granulosus Genotypes G1 and G3 by SNPs Genotyping Assays. Pathogens. 10, 125. DOI:

Skrzypek, K., Karamon, J.,  Samorek-Pieróg, M., Dąbrowska, J., Kochanowski, M., Sroka, J., Bilska-Zając, E., Cencek Tomasz. (2020). Comparison of Two DNA Extraction Methods and Two PCRs for Detection of Echinococcus multilocularis in the Stool Samples of Naturally Infected Red Foxes. Animals. 10, 2381. DOI:

Santucciu, C., Bonelli, P., Peruzzu, A., Fancellu, A., Marras, V., Carta, A., Mastrandrea, S., Bagella, G., Piseddu, T., Profili, S., Porcu, A., Masala, G. (2020). Cystic Echinococcosis: Clinical, Immunological, and Biomolecular Evaluation of Patients from Sardinia (Italy). Pathogens. 9(11), 907. DOI:

Santolamazza, F., Santoro, A., Possenti, A., Cacciò, S M., Casulli, A. (2020). A validated method to identify Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato at species level. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 85, 104575. DOI:

Bonelli , P., Loi, F., Cancedda, MG., Peruzzu, A., Antuofermo, E., Pintore, E., Piseddu, T., Garippa, G., Masalam G. (2020). Bayesian Analysis of Three Methods for Diagnosis of Cystic Echinococcosis in Sheep. Pathogens. 9(10), 796. DOI:

Maksimov, P., Bergmann, H., Wassermann, M., Romig, T., Gottstein, B., Casulli, A., Conraths, FJ. (2020). Species Detection within the Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato Complex by Novel Probe-Based Real-Time PCRs. Pathogens, 9(10), 791. DOI:

M’rad, S., Oudni-M’rad, M., Bastid, V., Bournez, L., Mosbahi, S., Nouri, A., Babba, H., Grenouillet, F., Boué, F., Umhang, G. (2020). Microsatellite Investigations of Multiple Echinococcus granulosus Sensu Stricto Cysts in Single Hosts Reveal Different Patterns of Infection Events between Livestock and Humans. Pathogens, 9(6), pp. 444. DOI:

Casulli, A, (2020), Recognising the substantial burden of neglected pandemics cystic and alveolar echinococcosis, The Lancet, 8 (4):PE470-E471. DOI:

OpenAIRE Publications

Project Events

MEmE Kick-off meeting- 5-6th February 2020

One Health EJP Project Kick-off meeting- 13th November 2019, Berlin, Germany



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