Echinococcosis (Hydatid Disease) a�� An Overview


is also known as hydatid disease. It is an infection caused by E. mutilocularis (alveolar hydatid disease) or Echinococcus granulosus. The symptoms of the disease depends on the affected organ a�� abdominal discomfort and jaundice with cough or liver cysts, hemoptysis with lung cysts and chest pain. The rupture of cysts may cause urticaria, fever or major anaphylactic reactions. The disease is diagnosed with serologic tests, examination of cyst fluid or imaging. Treatment of echinococcosis is done by cyst aspiration, surgery or with medications like albendazole. Read on to know more about

echinococcosis and its etiology and transmission


Etiology of Hydatid Disease

Echinococcus granulosus is rampant in farm areas where sheep are raised such as South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Middle East and Mediterranean. This pathogenic microorganism use canines as their primary hosts for survival. The intermediate hosts for Echinococcus granulosus are either humans or herbivore animals like deer, horses, sheep,etc. The foci is also found in regions of California, Alaska and Canada.

Worms of E. multilocularis are found in foxes. In small wild rodents, the hydatid larvae can be found. The main link to a few cases of human infection are infected dogs and other canines. This pathogen mainly exists in Siberia, Canada, Alaska and Central Europe. In the continental U.S., the pathogen’s range of natural infection extends from the Dakotas and Wyoming to upper Midwest. In very rare cases, E. oliganthus or E. vogelii may cause polycystic hydatid disease in humans, especially in the liver.

Transmission of Echinococcus Larvae Eggs

The Echinococcocus species which are responsible for causing disease are first transmitted to a intermediate host via ingestion of larvae eggs. These are then further transmitted to the definitive hosts via consumption of cyst -containing, infected organs of intermediate hosts. It is important to note that humans accidentally become the intermediate hosts as they become infected by handling animal hair, dirt or soil that contains larvae eggs.

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