BackgroundThe real burden of human cystic echinococcosis (CE) remains elusive, due to the peculiar characteristics of the disease and the heterogeneous and incomplete data recording of clinical cases. Furthermore, official notification systems do not collect pivotal clinical information, which would allow the comparison of different treatment outcomes, and thus circumvent the difficulty of implementing clinical trials for CE. The Italian Register of CE (RIEC) was launched in 2012 and expanded in 2014 into the European Register of CE (ERCE). The primary aim of the ERCE was to highlight the magnitude of CE underreporting, through the recording of cases that were not captured by official records. We present an overview of data collated in the ERCE and discuss its future, five years after its inception.MethodsThe ERCE database was explored on March 31st 2019; data concerning participating centres and registered cases were descriptively analysed.ResultsForty-four centres from 15 countries (7 non-European) were affiliated to the ERCE. Thirty-four centres (77%) registered at least one patient; of these, 18 (53%) recorded at least one visit within the past 18 months. A total of 2097 patients were registered, 19.9% of whom were immigrants. Cyst characteristics were reported for at least one cyst at least in one visit in 1643 (78.3%) patients, and cyst staging was used by 27 centres. In total, 3386 cysts were recorded at first registration; mostly located in the liver (75.5%). Data concerning clinical management could be analysed for 920 "cyst stage-location-management" observations, showing great heterogeneity in the implementation of the stage-specific management approach recommended by the WHO.ConclusionsThe ERCE achieved its goal in showing that CE is a relevant but neglected public health problem in Europe and beyond, since a proportion of patients reaching medical attention are not captured by official notification systems. The ERCE may provide a valuable starting platform to complement hospital-derived data, to obtain a better picture of the epidemiology of clinical CE, and to collect clinical data for the issue of evidence-based recommendations. The ERCE will be expanded into the International Register of CE (IRCE) and restructured aiming to overcome its current criticalities and fulfil these aims.