Human cystic echinococcosis (hydatid disease) continues to be a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality in many parts of the world. Elimination is difficult to obtain and it is estimated that, using current control options, achieving such a goal will take around 20 years of sustained efforts. Since the introduction of current (and past) hydatid control campaigns, there have been clear technological improvements made in the diagnosis and treatment of human and animal cystic echinococcosis, the diagnosis of canine echinococcosis, and the genetic characterisation of strains and vaccination against Echinococcus granulosus in animals. Incorporation of these new measures could increase the efficiency of hydatid control programmes, potentially reducing the time required to achieve effective prevention of disease transmission to as little as 5-10 years. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.