Echinococcosis (Cystic Echinococcosis, Alveolar Echinococcosis)

People can get a disease called echinococcosis from tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus. This can happen by eating tiny eggs that come from the tapeworm. The tapeworms live inside the intestines of dogs, wild canids like foxes, coyotes, and wolves, and sometimes cats. The tapeworms shed eggs in the feces of these hosts, which can contaminate soil, water, and plants. The eggs can remain alive for up to a year. When animals like sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, small rodents, or humans eat the eggs, they become infected. The eggs then hatch into larvae inside their intestines. These larvae can move throughout the body and form cysts or tumors in different organs. The lifecycle of the tapeworm is complete when a definitive host eats an infected intermediate host.

    General Information and Resources

    Mailing Address

    Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology Section
    Mail Code: 3082
    P.O. Box 149347
    Austin, TX 78714-9347
    United States

    Physical Address

    Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology Section
    Moreton Building, Suite M-631
    1100 West 49th Street
    Austin, TX 78756-3199
    United States