What clinicians should know about alveolar echinococcosis

Emilija Jonaitytė1,  Martynas Judickas1,  Milda Šeškutė2

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine.

2Department of Pediatrics, Kaunas Clinics, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences


Echinococcosis – rare infectious zoonosis, caused by tapeworm. Main species of tapeworms are considered to be Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis, that can cause human cystic and alveolar echinococcosis respectively. In this article, we will discuss about Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) that is mostly found in the northern hemisphere and spreads through fecal–oral route. It is a chronic and progressive disease, which diagnosis is still seeking for improvement in the early stages of echinococcosis. The most effective treatment to this day is radical surgery followed by chemotherapy with benzimidazoles. When the radical surgery is not possible to use the only remaining option is chemotherapy, which often may be a life-long treatment with its side effects. Untreated alveolar echinococcosis can lead to lethal outcomes.  With this article, we aim to review and discuss AE epidemiology globally; compare its distribution in Lithuania and neighboring countries. Furthermore, usual clinical manifestations, diagnosis of the disease, present and future treatment possibilities will be reviewed. Whereas AE remains a life threatening chronic disease, this article could be useful for doctors that wants to know more about this infectious disease.

Keywords: Alveolar echinococcosis; echinococcus multilocularis; treatment perspective.