Echinococcosis: An Economic Evaluation of a Veterinary Public Health Intervention in Rural Canada

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Abstract

Echinococcosis is a rare but endemic condition in people in Canada, caused by a zoonotic cestode for which the source of human infection is ingestion of parasite eggs shed by canids. The objectives of this study were to identify risk factors associated with infection and to measure the cost-utility of introducing an echinococcosis prevention program in a rural area. We analyzed human case reports submitted to the Canadian Institutes for Health Information between 2002 and 2011. Over this 10 year period, there were 48 cases associated with E. granulosus/E. canadensis, 16 with E. multilocularis, and 251 cases of echinococcosis for which species was not identified (total 315 cases). Nationally, annual incidence of echinococcosis was 0.14 cases per 100 000 people, which is likely an underestimate due to under-diagnosis and under-reporting. Risk factors for echinococcosis included female gender, age (>65 years), and residing in one of the northern territories (Nunavut, Yukon, or Northwest Territories). The average cost of treating a case of cystic echinococcosis in Canada was $8,842 CAD. Cost-utility analysis revealed that dosing dogs with praziquantel (a cestocide) at six week intervals to control cystic echinococcosis is not currently cost-effective at a threshold of $20,000-100,000 per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) gained, even in a health region with the highest incidence rate in Canada ($666,978 -755,051 per QALY gained). However, threshold analysis demonstrated that the program may become cost-saving at an echinococcosis incidence of 13-85 cases per 100,000 people and therefore, even one additional CE case in a community of 9000 people could result in the monetary benefits of the program outweighing costs.<<<Read Entire Report>>>