Apart from the fox other carnivores (e.g. raccoon dog) can act as final host for the only a few millimetres large fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis). After the development in the intestines, the eggs are excreted by the final host via faeces into the environment. Intermediate hosts are small mammals such as the common vole and the bank vole. Due to the long incubation period, the alveolar echinococcosis in humans is in most cases only detected at a late stage and is then difficult to treat.
Echinococcosis is a reportable disease in Germany. Between 2001 and 2010 an average of 20 cases of alveolar echinococcosis was reported per year. In some regions fox monitoring is carried out in respect of the spread of the fox tapeworm. To prevent an infection, fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption.