The parasite causes the disease echinococcosis in carnivores such as foxes and dogs and can be transmitted to humans through contaminated water or food. It is endemic in Eastern France, Southern Germany and parts of Switzerland and Austria and has also been recorded in other countries.
The EFSA scientific opinion concludes that the red fox is the principal host of E. multilocularis in Europe and should be monitored for infection. It also recommends defining epidemiological areas independently of political boundaries, standardising diagnostic tests and focusing on this most dangerous species of Echinococcus rather than the genus in general.
The opinion can be found in full on the EFSA website here.