Dog Ownership and Risk for Alveolar Echinococcosis, Germany
Human alveolar echinococcosis is caused by the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis, and dog ownership has been identified as a risk factor. We sought to specify the factors of dog ownership underlying this risk by conducting a case–control study among dog owners in Germany. The analysis revealed an increased odds ratio of ≈7-fold for dog owners whose dogs roam unattended in fields, 13-fold for dog owners who feed their dogs organic waste daily, 4-fold for dog owners who take their dog to a veterinarian only in case of illness, and 10-fold for dog owners who have never been informed by a veterinarian about the risk for infection. The results highlight the risk for infection associated with various factors of dog ownership and the value of veterinarians informing owners about prevention.