Echinococcosis

A new Chair and Co-Chair selected to lead the WHO Informal Working Group on Echinococcosis

16 September 2016 | Geneva
Since 1985, the WHO Informal Working Group on Echinococcosis (WHO-IGWE) has been the principal advisory group to WHO for the control and case detection and management of cystic (CE) and alveolar (AE) echinococcosis. This working group has its remit to advise WHO on current issues and challenges on echinococcosis that will be brought forward to the WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on Neglected Tropical Diseases (STAG-NTD).

A new Chair and Co-Chair have recently been selected following a call for nomination:

  • Prof Thomas Junghanss, Head of Clinical Tropical Medicine Section at Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany

  • Prof Okan Akhan, Head of Radiology at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey



Thomas Junghanss

Thomas Junghanss is a specialist in internal medicine, tropical medicine and infectious diseases, holds a MSc in Public Health in Developing Countries from the University of London and a Diploma in Geosciences. From 1988 to 1997 he worked at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. He joined Heidelberg University Hospital in 1997 where he heads the Section Clinical Tropical Medicine at the Centre for Infectious Diseases. The Unit coordinates an interdisciplinary special clinic on echinococcosis since 1999. The main research areas of the Unit are Echinococcosis, Buruli Ulcer and Dengue.

Dr. Okan Akhan

Dr. Okan Akhan is a professor of Radiology at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, where he works in non-vascular interventional radiology and in abdominal radiology fields. He studied Radiology and Abdominal Imaging at the Lund University (Sweden) Radiology Department. His main research fields include percutaneous treatment of hydatid cysts, percutaneous treatment of abdominal cysts, non-vascular interventions of abdominal and thoracic diseases and Imaging of diffuse liver diseases. Dr. Akhan has served for and contributed to scientific journals, presented at international scientific meetings and congresses and is a member of seven international radiology associations, in many of which he has held leadership positions.

Previous IWGE Chairs

Professor P. Kern, Section of Infectology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Ulm University, Germany, 2011-2015
Professor P. Craig Cestode Zoonoses Research Group, School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester, UK - 2005– 2010
Dr P. Schantz, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA – 2000-2004.
Professor D. Vuitton, WHO Collaborating Centre for Prevention and Control ofHuman Echinococcosis, University Hospital, Besançon, France – 1995- 1999.
Professor J. Eckert, University of Zurich, Switzerland - 1985-1995.