Echinococcosis also known as hydatid disease or alveolar hydatid is zoonotic disease. The transmission cycle of Echinococcosis involves mainly dog- sheep, although dog-cattle dog-pig, dog- goat seems to exist. Echinococcosis caused by E. granulosus mainly affects people in the north, northeast and central parts of Tanzania, where sheep and dog keeping is common.
A study, which was conducted in 1984 in Mara region, showed that, the prevalence of the disease was 1.5%. Other studies on Echinococcosis found a prevalence of 1.4% in people screened by ultrasound scanning in northern parts of Tanzania, (Macpherson et al 1989). He also reviewed hospital data for 1977 through 1986 and found an annual surgical rate of hydatid =11per 100,000 people in the same region.
On the animal part, the problem is evident since several studies have been conducted and found that the problem is on the increase. Studies by Nsengwa in 1985 using meat inspection estimated the prevalence of 0.4% and 0.24% in 1987. Boa and others (1999) found the prevalence of 17.4%. All these studies were conducted in northern parts of Tanzania. Malamsha (2000) conducted a survey in two slaughter areas in Tanzania, and found that some sheep organs had hydatid cysts. A few data collected from two slaughtering areas in Ilala Municipal in Dar es Salaam City in 1999 and 2000 indicated the presence of hydatid cyst in sheep and cattle. Echinococcosis is not a notifiable disease in Tanzania; hence it is difficult to get current data on its prevalence in humans.
Control measures include health education to communities on prevention and controlling of all helminthic parasitic diseases. Community should observe environmental hygiene, careful washing of vegetables and restricting dogs to enter slaughtering areas. Albendazole, Mebendazole and Praziquantel are drug of choice for the disease.