Echinococcus In Humans: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

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Echinococcus In Humans: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment
Echinococcus In Humans: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Echinococcus In Humans: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Echinococcus In Humans: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment
Video: Hydatid cyst of Echinococcus granulosus(Dog tapeworm) : Discussed in details everything you need 2023, December

Echinococcus, whose symptoms in humans may not appear for a long time, is one of the most dangerous parasites. The human body is an ideal habitat for many parasites. These creatures cause a deterioration in well-being and a serious threat to human health. This helminth can cause damage to the liver and lungs, most often the disease can only be cured by surgery.

The content of the article:

  • 1 What is echinococcosis
  • 2 Ways of transmission of echinococcosis
  • 3 Symptoms of echinococcosis
  • 4 Diagnosis of echinococcosis
  • 5 Laboratory methods for the study of echinococcosis
  • 6 Immunological methods of research of echinococcosis
  • 7 Instrumental research methods of echinococcosis
  • 8 Echinococcosis of the liver
  • 9 Echinococcosis of the lungs
  • 10 Treatment of echinococcosis
  • 11 Treatment of echinococcosis with folk remedies
  • 12 Echinococcus - prevention

What is echinococcosis

Echinococcosis is a rare chronic parasitic disease that occurs as a result of exposure to the body of the larval form of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus.

Echinococcosis is widespread throughout the world. According to statistics, the population and animals of the southern countries are most intensely affected: the countries of South America (Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil), Australia and New Zealand, North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt), Southern Europe (Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, France), then - the southern part of the USA, Japan, India, the former USSR. As we move from south to north, the incidence decreases.


On the territory of the former Soviet Union, echinococcosis is widespread in those republics and regions where animal husbandry is developed, mainly sheep breeding - the North Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova (the incidence of the population is 1.37 - 3.85 per 100,000), in Russia - Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Altai, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk regions, Volgograd, Samara, Rostov, Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, Omsk, Kamchatka, Magadan, Amur regions and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

Ways of transmission of echinococcosis

During development, Echinococcus undergoes several stages, successively passing one into the other. Among domestic animals, the final owner is the dog, but in some cases it can also be found in cats. Mature worms parasitize in the intestines of these animals. Eggs, along with feces, are released into the environment and get to: on the ground, in water, vegetables, fruits, in general, on what comes into contact with feces in the external environment.

Further, the distribution paths diverge somewhat, there are several options:

one part of the eggs is swallowed by small rodents - rats, mice, muskrats. Once in the intestines, the larvae enter the bloodstream and are carried with the bloodstream into the liver, where they begin to mature. When wild animals eat these small animals, parasites infect them. When hunting, killed game can serve as a source of human infection, especially in those cases when the hunters do not roast it well and then eat it

  • the other part enters the intestines of farm animals (goats, sheep, pigs, large and small ruminants), along with the eaten grass, contaminated feed, contaminated water. Inside their body, the larvae also enter the liver, lungs, and less often other organs, where they are for a long time. A person can freely become infected with echinococcus if he eats poorly thermally processed meat of infected animals;
  • the third way of spreading, and I would say one of the most important, is non-observance of the rules of usual hygiene. When, for example, a child or an adult, without washing freshly picked strawberries, or playing with the dog in the yard, also does not wash his hands and starts biting his nails or eating, then this category of people has every chance of contracting this disease.

Once in the human body, the larvae are initially absorbed from the intestines and enter the liver. Most of the parasites cannot pass the hepatic barrier and remain.

Echinococcosis symptoms

Echinococcosis is not an acute illness that presents with a sudden high fever, chills, torrential sweats, or severe pain. No, on the contrary, the symptoms of the disease may not appear or be felt by an infected person for many months and even years from the moment of illness.

This feature makes it difficult to make a correct diagnosis and often the patient turns to different specialists for help until he finally gets to the operating table for the removal of the echinococcal cyst.

The general symptoms of the disease include, first of all:

  • weakness and fatigue;
  • decreased overall performance and recurrent headaches; rashes on the skin in the form of small-point red spots;
  • increases in body temperature, which are temporary.

These symptoms are caused by the secretion of toxic metabolic products of parasites, as well as the body's reaction to the introduction of infection into the human body.

Diagnosis of echinococcosis


Diagnosis of echinococcosis often presents significant difficulties. In recent years, in addition to general clinical research methods, contrast methods have become more widely used, for example, transumbilical portohepatography, selective angiography of the celiac artery, scanning with radioactive isotopes, which help to diagnose liver echinococcosis, computed tomography.

The range of applied methods of immunodiagnostics is wide:

  • Analysis of complaints and anamnesis of the disease: when (how long ago) there were abdominal pain, weakness, vomiting, heartburn, cough, weight loss was found, whether there was contact with animals or their skins (professional or if someone in the patient's family is engaged in skinning), as well as whether the patient ate contaminated berries, vegetables and water, poorly heat-treated meat.
  • Analysis of life history: epidemiological history - professional (work-related) contact with animal skins and their meat; having a dog house; living on the territory of Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, the republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia, in the Ukraine and in other regions with a high incidence of echinococcosis.

Laboratory methods for the study of echinococcosis

  • Complete blood count: eosinophilia (increased concentration of eosinophils (blood cells that contribute to the development of an allergic reaction) in the blood) is detected;
  • biochemical blood test: dysproteinemia (a violation of the ratio of blood proteins) is detected - a decrease in albumin (simple, water-soluble proteins), prothrombin (a complex protein that is an important indicator of the function of the blood coagulation system) and an increase in gamma globulins (antibodies (cells used by the immune system) to detect and neutralize foreign objects)). This indicates a violation of the protein synthesis function (production of proteins) of the liver;

Echinococcus. The Casoni serological test is a diagnostic allergic test for the diagnosis of echinococcosis, during which an echinococcal antigen (a genetically foreign substance that causes a reaction on the part of human immunity) is injected intradermally. A positive test will indicate the presence in the human body of antibodies (cells used by the immune system to detect and neutralize foreign objects) against the causative agent of echinococcosis;

  • microscopic examination of sputum for the presence of the causative agent of echinococcosis;
  • microscopic examination of urine for the presence of the echinococcus pathogen.

Immunological methods for the study of echinococcosis

Indirect hemagglutination reaction (RNGA) is a method for detecting antigens and antibodies based on the ability of erythrocytes (red blood cells), on the surface of which antigens or antibodies are previously adsorbed (collected), to agglutinate (stick together and precipitate) in the presence of homologous sera (obtained from sera of immunized (vaccinated, that is, having antibodies against a specific pathogen (in this case, we are talking about the causative agent of echinococcosis)) people (people who have been vaccinated with certain known antibodies)) or corresponding antigens

  • latex agglutination reaction - antibodies agglutinate latex particles, on the surface of which antigen is collected;
  • double diffusion in the gel - the method consists in placing the antigen and the antibody in wells made in a thin layer of gel at a short distance from each other. The zone of precipitation (the zone of formation of a precipitate that occurs during the test) is permeable to antigens and antibodies that do not interact with those that have formed a precipitate. As a result, several precipitation zones may form, each of which corresponds to an individual antigen and antibodies to it;
  • immunoelectrophoresis (IEF) and counter immunoelectrophoresis (VIEF) - methods for studying the antigenic composition of biological materials;

The reaction of fluorescent antibodies (XRF) is based on the reaction of an antigen with antibodies associated with fluorescent (converting absorbed light into visible radiation) dyes, which give a characteristic glow when irradiated with short wavelength light;

  • scolex-precipitation reaction - as a result of the interaction of scolex (echinococcus head) with an antibody, precipitation occurs in the form of so-called precipitates;
  • enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) - detection of pathogen antigens, as well as specific IgG antibodies (a class of antibodies that provide protection against microorganisms and toxins (products of their vital activity)) in blood serum.

Instrumental research methods of echinococcosis

Ultrasound examination (ultrasound) of the abdominal cavity is a non-invasive (without penetration through the skin or mucous membranes) examination of the human body using ultrasonic waves. Allows to identify the presence of cysts (pathological (absent in the norm) cavities in the tissue of any organ (in this case, the liver), containing fluid and bounded by a wall on all sides), their size and number

  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic method used mainly to identify pathological processes in soft tissues (muscles, internal organs). Allows you to identify the presence of cysts, their size and number;
  • liver biopsy - microscopic examination of liver tissue obtained with a thin needle under ultrasound control. It is performed for differential (distinctive) diagnosis of cysts and tumors or abscesses (limited foci of inflammation of the lung tissue with its decay and the formation of a cavity filled with pus);
  • X-ray examination - detection of formations (cysts) in organs and determination of sizes. X-ray examination, used to diagnose pathological changes in the abdominal organs. In abdominal x-rays, the patient is placed between the x-ray tube and the film. Based on the results of this examination, one can say about the presence of cysts, their size and number;
  • computed tomography (CT) - detecting cysts in organs and determining the size, structure and density.

Echinococcosis of the liver

Echinococcosis of the liver is one of the most common parasitic diseases, which is based on the formation of cysts in the liver. The main signs of this pathology are general weakness, a significant decrease in appetite, a decrease in body weight, a feeling of heaviness in the liver, nausea after eating fried or fatty foods, and upset stools.

To diagnose liver echinococcosis, a general blood test, immunological methods, ultrasound of the abdominal organs, magnetic resonance imaging, liver SPECT, laparoscopy, etc. are used. The most effective treatment is surgical excision of cysts; anthelmintic drugs are also used.

Echinococcosis of the liver is a parasitic pathology that is caused by the tapeworm Echinococcus. Its larvae invade and multiply in organ tissue, forming cysts. This disease is considered one of the most common helminths. The incidence of echinococcosis in different countries of the world varies significantly. The disease is mainly observed in regions where they are actively engaged in agricultural activities.


Echinococcus parasitizes in the human body exclusively in the form of a larva, affecting not only the liver, but also other organs, such as the brain and lungs. Moreover, the involvement of the liver in the process occurs in 65% of all cases of this disease. Pathology is studied by gastroendriology and infectology. Treatment of echinococcosis is included in the scope of activities of specialists such as an infectious disease specialist, gastroenterologist, hepatologist and surgeon.

Echinococcosis of the lungs

Echinococcosis of the lungs is a form of anthropozoonotic infection caused by the larva of the echinococcus tapeworm and leading to a specific cystic lesion of the lung tissue. Symptoms of pulmonary echinococcosis can be chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, urticaria and itching; with a complicated course - profuse sputum mixed with blood and pus, fever, respiratory distress, severe anaphylactic reactions. The diagnosis is made using X-ray and CT of the lungs, sputum microscopy, and serological blood tests. With echinococcosis of the lungs, the parasitic cyst is removed, the lung is resected, and lobectomy is combined with antiparasitic therapy.

Echinococcus. Echinococcosis of the lungs is the most dangerous helminthiasis that develops when infected with eggs of a tapeworm - echinococcus, accompanied by the formation of parasitic cysts in the pulmonary parenchyma. Invasion of the lungs is observed in 15-20% of all cases of echinakosis, 70-80% is due to liver damage (enicorosis of the liver), the rest - to the heart, brain and other internal organs. Echinococcosis of the lungs is most often recorded in regions with a dry hot climate and developed cattle breeding: the countries of South America, North Africa, Australia and N. Zealand, in the southern part of Europe, the USA, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the North Caucasus, Central and South Asia.

Echinococcosis of the lungs can be primary and secondary (metastatic), develop in any part of the lung, but mainly affects the lower lobes. In this case, unilateral or bilateral, single or multiple echinococcal cysts can form, having a small (up to 2 cm), medium (2-4 cm) or large (4-8 cm and more) size.

The echinococcus cyst is limited by a dense membrane, consisting of the outer (cuticular) and inner (germinal) layers, and is filled with yellowish liquid contents. Echinococcosis of the lungs usually has a unicameral (hydatidous), rarely - multi-chamber, form.


Echinococcus is capable of growth and endless reproduction due to brood capsules of the inner layer, which reproduce scolexes and form daughter bubbles in the cyst cavity. Due to the high elasticity of the lung tissue, the cyst gradually grows, reaching a large volume over several years. Giant cysts with a diameter of 10-20 cm can contain several liters of fluid.

In the lung, the echinococcus larva can remain viable for many years and even decades (20 years or more). Echinococcosis of the lungs can proceed uncomplicated and with complications (calcification, suppuration and rupture of the cyst).

Echinococcosis treatment


Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease that is never cured on its own without the implementation of therapeutic measures. There are rare cases of recovery only when using drug therapy. Echnococcosis is treated only by surgery. In the period before and after the operation, concomitant treatment with an anthelmintic drug - mebendazole (Vermox) is carried out.

Echnococcosis is treated only by surgery.

The dose is prescribed individually, depending on the stage of the pathological process. In some cases, this approach using mebendazole can temporarily delay the growth of the cyst and even reduce it in size.

Echinococcus. Surgical operation consists in removing the echinococcal cyst with the capsule and surrounding, pathologically altered tissues. Removal of a cyst is performed in cases where it is small and located closer to the surface of the organ. In cases of deep location of cystic formation, in order to avoid complications associated with damage to deeply located vessels and bile ducts, a different surgical approach is used. The cyst, together with the capsule, is not removed, but pre-punctured and its contents are sucked off.

Then the inner layers of the cyst are cleaned from the inside, after which the cavity is treated with a 2% formalin solution and sutured. Operations should be carried out very carefully to avoid leakage of cyst fluid along with the eggs of the parasites. Carelessness during the operation can lead to harmful consequences and the spread of infection to nearby organs or throughout the body with blood flow.


With alveolar echinococcosis, the so-called palliative operations are performed, which do not completely cure the disease, but only temporarily alleviate the patient's suffering. It is carried out by removing a part, the largest cysts, to reduce compression of a healthy part of the organ. Palliative operations are performed to increase the patient's life expectancy, as well as to improve his well-being.

A person is considered healthy if, for four years, immunological blood tests are taken from him, and they show a negative result.

Treatment of echinococcosis with folk remedies

Before talking about the alternative treatment of echinococcosis, it is necessary to clarify that it is possible to extract and at least somehow deal with adults of this parasite only with the help of surgical intervention. When echinococcosis is still small - it is, so to speak, in a state of embryo, still quite in a weak vesicular membrane - it is quite possible to fight it with the help of folk remedies, since it is still very vulnerable:

very effective ways to combat this parasite are as follows. For example, in the state of the embryo, echinococcosis cannot tolerate wormwood, this plant destroys the embryo. Horseradish, garlic, radish, cinnamon and mustard seeds also have the same effect. Black peas can also inflict a fatal blow on the weak embryo of echinococcosis, if taken daily, once a day, one pea

  • to combat echinococcosis in the state of the embryo, it is recommended to take a powder of three herbs, namely cloves, tansy and wormwood. All three herbs must be dried, ground into powder and taken daily three times a day before meals, one teaspoonful for ten days. Such courses of treatment for ten days must be carried out every three months;
  • an excellent remedy in the fight against echinococcosis is dry lemon peel. To do this, it is necessary to grind the dried lemon peel into powder and dilute one teaspoon of this powder in 0.5 cups of hot water. Such a remedy must be taken daily, every morning on an empty stomach.

Echinococcus - prevention

Echinococcus. Preventive measures include a whole range of measures taken to prevent possible infection with echinococcosis. First of all, it is necessary to remember about the ways of transmission of infection in order to reduce the risk of infection to minimal figures.

  • People whose work is related to dog breeding, hunting, animal husbandry, and members of their families must first of all pay great attention to the hygienic rules that are followed: after contact with dogs and other animals; before eating; after the toilet;
  • timely hand washing with soap after the above steps will prevent infection from entering the body;

It is important to know that water from springs, wells and other natural sources is boiled first and then drunk!

  • careful heat treatment of meat is also very important, because it may contain echinococcus larvae;
  • patients with echinococcosis after treatment should be registered with a dispensary, and visit a doctor and be examined at least 1 time in 2 years. Clinical examination is carried out for 8-10 years.

Find out more:

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  • Worms in adults: signs, symptoms and treatment
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