This usually happens not by hugging your pet (so no need to give up those snuggles), but rather from infected environmental factors, such as food and water. This means that you really should be mindful of washing your hands with soap and water after cleaning up after your pooch or kitty, although you should really be doing that anyway.
When people are infected, known as alveolar echinoccosis, the parasites tend to form cysts in the organs slowly, meaning that it can be years before people get diagnosed with the infection. Typical symptoms include pain and discomfort in the chest, weakness, and even unexplained weight loss. The symptoms can even be confused with liver cancer. While this infection can be deadly, it is necessary to note that it is also very rare.
What is also now becoming apparent, though, is that in some parts of North America – namely British Colombia, Western Canada, and Ontario – domestic dogs can become the secondary hosts, too. The strain that is infecting these dogs is now known to originate in Europe, and is seemingly already well established in wild animals across much of Canada.
Basically, in order to prevent your dog, or even yourself, from becoming infected, you should try to keep your pet clear of any areas where wild foxes or coyotes have done their business, get them wormed if they eat rodents, and always wash your hands and any wild food that you might have collected.
[H/T: The Conversation]