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Transmission ecology of taeniid larval cestodes in rodents in Sweden, a low endemic area for Echinococcus multilocularis


Although local prevalence of Echinococcus multilocularis may be high, this zoonotic parasite has an overall low prevalence in foxes and rodents in Sweden. To better understand opportunities for E. multilocularis transmission in the Swedish environment, the aim of this study was to investigate other taeniid cestodes and to relate observed patterns to E. multilocularis. Cestode parasites were examined in fox feces and rodents caught in different habitats from four regions of Sweden. Arvicola amphibius and Microtus agrestis were parasitized with Versteria mustelae, Hydatigera taeniaeformis s. l., and E. multilocularis, whereas Myodes glareolus and Apodemus spp. were parasitized with V. mustelae, Taenia polyacantha, H. taeniaeformis s.l., and Mesocestoides spp. Rodents caught in field habitat (Ar. amphibius, Mi. agrestis) were more likely (OR 10, 95% CI 5–19) to be parasitized than rodents caught in forest habitat (My. glareolus, Apodemus spp.). The parasite preference for each rodent species was present regardless of the type of background contamination from fox feces. These results further support the importance of both ecological barriers and individual species susceptibility in parasite transmission, and indicate that future monitoring for E. multilocularis in the Swedish environment should focus in field habitats where Mi. agrestis and Ar. amphibius are abundant.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, Section for Parasitology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7036, Uppsala, 750 07, Sweden. Email:
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