The key difference between Echinococcus granulosus and multilocularis is that Echinococcus granulosus is a species of the genus Echinococcus that causes cystic echinococcosis, while Echinococcus multilocularis is a species of the genus Echinococcus that causes alveolar echinococcosis.
Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease caused by the infection with the tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus. It is caused by the larval stage of tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus. Moreover, it is one of the most important zoonotic diseases worldwide. Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis are the two most prevalent species of the genus Echinococcus infecting humans, resulting in cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE), respectively.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Echinococcus Granulosus
3. What is Echinococcus Multilocularis
4. Similarities – Echinococcus Granulosus and Multilocularis
5. Echinococcus Granulosus vs Multilocularis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Echinococcus Granulosus vs Multilocularis
What is Echinococcus Granulosus?
Echinococcus granulosus is a species of the genus Echinococcus that causes cystic echinococcosis. Echinococcus granulosus is known to be endemic on all continents. It was first documented in Alaska but is distributed worldwide. This species is especially prevalent in parts of Eurasia, north and east Africa, Australia, and South America.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is also known as hydatid disease. It is caused by the infection with the larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus, which is a 2 – 7 millimeter long tapeworm species. Moreover, the lifecycle of E. granulosus involves dogs and wild carnivores as a definitive host for the adult tapeworm. The definitive hosts are where parasites reach maturity and reproduce successfully. This species is also found in intermediate hosts such as sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs. Although most infections in humans are asymptomatic, CE can cause harmful, slowly enlarging cysts in the liver, lungs, and other organs. These cysts are often grown unnoticed and neglected for years.
Cystic echinococcosis can be diagnosed by evaluation for cysts like mass in patients with histories of exposure to sheepdogs, imaging testing like CT-scan, ultrasonography, and MRI. Furthermore, chemotherapy, cyst puncture, percutaneous aspiration, injection of chemicals and reaspiration (PAIR), and surgery are the treatment options for cystic echinococcosis.
What is Echinococcus Multilocularis?
Echinococcus multilocularis is a species of genus Echinococcus that causes alveolar echinococcosis. Echinococcus multilocularis has more restricted distribution; it is generally regarded to be a parasite limited to the northern hemisphere. This tapeworm species is usually found in foxes, coyotes, dogs, and sometimes rodents. Human infections are rare but can cause serious side effects when it occurs.
The alveolar echinococcosis (AE) that is caused by the larval stage of E. multilocularis results in parasitic tumors in the liver. These tumors may spread to other organs, including the lungs and brain. In humans, the larval forms of E. multilocularis do not fully mature into cysts but cause vesicles that invade and destroy surrounding tissues. Therefore, symptoms like discomfort, pain, weight loss, and malaise can be caused after infection. Moreover, AE can cause liver failure and death because of the spread into nearby tissues such as the brain.
AE can be diagnosed through imagining tests like CT-scan and serological tests. Furthermore, the treatment options for AE may include radical surgery and long-time chemotherapy.
What are the Similarities Between Echinococcus Granulosus and Multilocularis?
- Echinococcus granulosus and multilocularis are two species of the genus Echinococcus.
- The larval stages of both species cause two different forms of echinococcosis, a parasitic disease in humans.
- Both species live in other hosts before infecting humans (zoonosis).
- The human infections caused by both species can be treated through respective surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Echinococcus Granulosus and Multilocularis?
Echinococcus granulosus causes cystic echinococcosis while Echinococcus multilocularis causes alveolar echinococcosis. Thus, this is the key difference between Echinococcus Granulosus and Multilocularis. Furthermore, Echinococcus granulosus is known to be endemic in all continents, while Echinococcus multilocularis has a more restricted distribution and is generally regarded as a parasite limited to the northern hemisphere.
The below infographic presents the differences between Echinococcus Granulosus and Multilocularis in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Echinococcus Granulosus vs Multilocularis
Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis are two species of the genus Echinococcus. Echinococcus granulosus causes cystic echinococcosis in humans while Echinococcus multilocularis causes alveolar echinococcosis in humans. So, this is the key difference between Echinococcus granulosus and multilocularis.
1. Walker, Ann. “Echinococcus Granulosus.” Animal Diversity Web.
2. “Echinococcus Multilocularis.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
1. “Echinococcus granulosus” By Ganímedes – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Echinococcus-multilocularis-adult” By Alan R Walker – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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