The development of a European isolate of Echinococcus multilocularis was compared in cats and dogs at the end of the prepatent period. Echinococcus multilocularis established in all dogs and cats, but worm recovery was significantly greater from dogs than from cats. Overall, worms in cats were not as advanced as those in dogs in terms of development and maturation, but there was no evidence of retarded development or stunted forms. These results confirm that dogs are highly susceptible to E. multilocularis, whereas cats have lower and more variable recovery rates. However, because cats produce thick-shelled eggs of E. multilocularis after experimental and natural infections, they have to be regarded as potential sources of infection both for intermediate and accidental hosts, including humans. However, their general role in the epidemiology of the infection has yet to be determined.
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