Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
LARRIEU, Edmundo and ZANINI, Fabian. Critical analysis of cystic echinococcosis control programs and praziquantel use in South America, 1974-2010. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.1, pp. 81-87. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892012000100012.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is one of the most prevalent zoonoses in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Control programs in South America were originally modeled after programs developed in insular territories, such as Tasmania and New Zealand. The advent and proven effectiveness of praziquantel, plus the experience of insular models, produced high expectations for rapid advances; however, after 30 years of praziquantel use, no endemic area in South America has obtained eradication. In fact, only modest gains in CE control have been made and impact on prevalence among humans has been slight. A major impediment has been the infrastructure needed to administer praziquantel to dogs in rural areas 8 times per year over numerous years, a requirement for rapid attack stage 1. Such an infrastructure has not been financially or politically sustainable in endemic areas, which tend to be the poorest. On the other hand, certain areas in Argentina have had success with simple and economically viable alternatives. Based primarily on continuous field work supported by the local community, these strategies have significantly decreased transmission to humans, the health sector's main objective. In addition, new possibilities and tools, such as the EG95 vaccine, are being evaluated; as are early detection and treatment of asymptomatic carriers.
Keywords : echinococcosis; communicable disease control; praziquantel; epidemiologic surveillance; South America.