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Echinococcosis – Diagnosis and Treatment

Echinococcosis

is also called as hydatid disease. It is an infection which is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the larvae eggs of echinococcus worm species. The worm of echinococcus is a microscopic tapeworm which is mostly found in the common livestock like sheep and canines. Infections in the human is a very rare case, although it can be serious. After the consumption of the tapeworm egg, the egg settles in the various organs of the body like liver,brain and lungs. These can lead to formation of large cysts in these organs. If the infection is not treated, one may die form this infection. Read on to know more about the

diagnosis and treatment of echinococcosis

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Diagnosis of Echinococcosis

The diagnosis of this infection is done by one of the methods:

  • Examination of cyst fluid
  • Serological testing
  • Imaging

The pulmonary cysts are generally discovered while doing chest x-ray. These are often irregular, round pulmonary masses. Ultrasound, MRI and CT findings may be pathognomonic if hydatid sand (debris and protoscolices) and daughter cysts are present. Although, it is difficult to differentiate the simple hydatid cysts from the malignant or benign tumors, abscesses or simple benign cysts. It is diagnose the disease if hydatid sand are present in the aspirated cyst fluid.

Serological tests like indirect hemagglutination assay, immunofluorescent assay and enzyme immunoassay are ver sensitive but give good results. Hence, these should be done. CBC may help in detecting eosinophilia in the sample.

Treatment for Hydatid Disease

The treatment process for hydatid disease include:

  • In a few cases, Albendazole
  • Aspiration followed by instillation of a scolicidal agent
  • Surgical removal

Surgery which is done via laparoscopy can be useful in treating the condition. Before the surgery, albendazole is given to prevent any metastatic infections which may oocur if the cyst fluid spills during the surgical procedure. Under the CT guidance, percutaneous aspiration is carried out, which is followed by instillation of a scolicidal agent like hypertonic saline. After the procedure, reaspiration is done.

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