Great Basin Naturalist


A program to control hydatid disease in central Utah was evaluated by: (1) surveillance of infection in dogs and sheep, (2) questioning adult residents of two Sanpete County communities (Fountain Green and Spring City) about their knowledge of hydatid disease and their attitudes toward preventive measures, (3) interviewing local officials to evaluate the proposed implementation of proper community-wide measures, (4) analyzing records of prophylactic treatment of dogs with praziquantel, and (5) comparing scores of tests given to third and fourth grade students before and after they colored an educational pamphlet about hydatid disease.

Infection rates of Echinococcus granulosus in dogs brought to volunteer diagnostic clinics dropped from 28.3 percent in 1972 to 1.0 percent in 1979, but increased to 9.8 percent in 1981. This last rise was due mainly to the fact that some dogs were examined that belonged to range sheepmen who had either not attended a field clinic recently or had never attended at all. Prevalence of the parasite in slaughtered sheep decreased steadily from 13.2 percent in 1972 to 2.8 percent in 1981. With regard to the questionnaire phase of the project, 87.3 percent and 84.3 percent of the respondents understood the role of dogs in the life cycle of E. granulosus in Fountain Green and Spring City, respectively. Over 50 percent of the respondents of these two communities had worked directly with sheep sometime in their life. In general, residents were more willing to practice preventive measures involving sheep than they were to implement measures involving dogs alone. However, many of the recommended community-wide preventive measures were not implemented. With the coloring book, students answered an average of 62.5 percent of the questions correctly before they colored the pamphlet and 83.3 percent afterward. Overall, our results suggest that residents of Sanpete County are knowledgeable about hydatid disease and its mode of transmission, and that, in general, progress has been made in control of hydatid disease in central Utah.