Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 89–96 | Cite as

Frequency and genetic diversity of Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto in sheep and cattle from the steppe region of Djelfa, Algeria

  • Abd Elkarim LaatamnaEmail author
  • Dennis Ebi
  • Khadidja Brahimi
  • Khadidja Bediaf
  • Marion Wassermann
  • Karim Souttou
  • Thomas Romig
Original Paper


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) of humans and animals is caused by various species of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato. Of these, E. granulosus sensu stricto has the widest geographical distribution and is the most important agent of human cystic echinococcosis. Previous molecular studies showed that E. granulosus s.s. isolates from the Middle East and western Asia exhibit higher intraspecific diversity than those from other parts of the world, which led to hypotheses on the origin of the species in that region. However, various high-endemicity regions have not been sufficiently covered by such studies, including northern Africa as a well-known focus of this parasite. Here, we report data on the mitochondrial cox1 gene (1609bp) sequence diversity of E. granulosus s.s. from Algerian livestock. An abattoir survey of 1278 animals from the Algerian steppe region (Djelfa) resulted in CE prevalence of 13.9% in cattle (n = 266), 5.7% in sheep (n = 975), and 0% in goats (n = 37). All of 125 molecularly examined cyst isolates belonged to E. granulosus s.s. In total, 73 haplotypes were found, only five of which have been previously reported (from the Middle East and Australia). One haplotype sequence (EgAlg01X) was found to contain an insertion of three bases at the end of the gene. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been reported before for Echinococcus spp. Diversity values of our panel of Algerian samples were in the range of those that have been previously reported from the Middle East and far higher than those from elsewhere. This, together with the low number of shared haplotypes, indicates a more complex biogeographical history of this parasite than hitherto assumed.


Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto Haplotype cox1 Genetic diversity Steppe region Algeria 



The authors thank the responsible veterinarian at the Djelfa slaughterhouse for his support and participation during the sampling of material. The presence of insertion TGC within haplotype EgAlg01X was confirmed by Dr. Belgees Boufana at the Italian National Institute of Health, Department of Infectious Diseases, Rome, Italy.

Funding information

Parts of this work were financially supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), project CESSARi (Ro 3753/2-1, 3-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

436_2018_6118_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (655 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 655 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Natural Sciences and LifeUniversity of DjelfaDjelfaAlgeria
  2. 2.Parasitology Unit (220B), Institute of ZoologyUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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