Echinococcus Cyst: What Is It, Routes Of Infection And Symptoms

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Echinococcus Cyst: What Is It, Routes Of Infection And Symptoms
Echinococcus Cyst: What Is It, Routes Of Infection And Symptoms
Video: Echinococcus Cyst: What Is It, Routes Of Infection And Symptoms
Video: Hydatid cyst of Echinococcus granulosus(Dog tapeworm) : Discussed in details everything you need 2023, February

Echinococci are parasites, the presence of which is often diagnosed in humans. The defeat of this pathology is more susceptible to those people whose activities are related to agriculture, active interaction with the soil. In the host's body, a larva appears from the eggs of the helminth - an echinococcal cyst. Such a neoplasm can develop in various organs and tissues, but mainly it is located in the liver and lungs.


  • 1 What are echinococci
  • 2 Method of distribution
  • 3 Symptoms

    • 3.1 Common manifestations
    • 3.2 Hydatid echinococcosis: symptoms
    • 3.3 Alveolar pathology
  • 4 Localization in other tissues

What are echinococci

Echinococci are a type of tapeworm that mainly affects the intestinal region of foxes, wolves and dogs. These helminths are small in size, which do not exceed a couple of millimeters, but upon close examination they can be detected with the naked eye.

Representatives of these helminths are divided into 2 groups:

  • hydatidous - mainly affects the hepatic organ of a person;
  • alveolar - specializes in lung damage.

In the human body, the parasitic form can carry on its life only in the larval form. Parasitic individuals of the larval form of hydatid echinococcosis externally represent a bubble with one chamber, and alveolar - a neoplasm with many chambers. Such blisters are called echinococcus cysts in medicine.

Neoplasms are built on the basis of two shells, located outside and inside. The cyst cavity is filled with fluid, which creates favorable conditions for the maturation of scolexes. The inner part of the shell is equipped with special areas responsible for the production of larvae.

Distribution method

The dog most often acts as the final host for echinococci, but sometimes the parasite can also exist in the feline body. Sexually mature helminths, trapped in the bodies of these animals, operate in the intestines. Eggs of helminths leave the host's body with feces - so they settle on the soil, in water bodies, and agricultural crops.


There are several ways of transmission of this pathology.

  1. Eggs settled in the environment are swallowed by small rodents. After that, the parasitic larvae enter the intestinal region, from where they enter the bloodstream and migrate to the liver, where they reach their maturity. Rodents become food for wild animals, as a result of which worms are transferred into their body. Parasites can be transmitted to humans through hunting, especially when people eat poorly prepared food.
  2. Eggs can enter the body of domestic animals along with the grass, food, and drink eaten from contaminated water bodies. In the body of these animals, the larvae also migrate to the liver and lungs. Sometimes parasitic individuals infect other organs. A person develops an echinococcal cyst if he eats insufficiently processed meat.
  3. The most common route of infection is non-compliance with personal hygiene rules. Infection occurs when a person takes food with dirty hands or eats unwashed fruits, berries, vegetables. You can also catch echinococcus when playing with pets and because of the habit of biting nails.

In the human body, the larvae first enter the bloodstream before being carried to the liver or lungs. The bulk of the parasitic forms are not able to pass the liver barrier, so they settle in this organ.


There are several forms of damage to the human body by echinococcus, each of which is distinguished by the appearance of specific symptoms

Common manifestations

Echinococcal cysts can develop asymptomatically. In this case, it is very difficult to diagnose the pathology, and the infected mainly turn to doctors with complaints at the last stage of bladder development. However, in half of the cases, the disease makes itself felt with the following symptoms:

  • weakness in the body;
  • severe fatigue;
  • decreased performance;
  • increased body temperature;
  • the appearance of a rash on the epidermis in the form of small red dots;
  • headaches periodically appear.

Hydatidous echinococcosis: symptoms

In 60%, parasitic individuals affect the liver. There are several stages in the development of a pathological neoplasm in this organ, each of which has its own symptoms.

The first stage is determined by the introduction of helminths into the liver tissue, the formation of a protective capsule. Usually this stage is asymptomatic.

At the second stage, general symptoms usually appear, symptoms of hepatic damage develop, which are characterized by:

  • loss of appetite and weight;
  • a decrease in the liver's ability to neutralize chemicals when taking medications;
  • the appearance of nausea and vomiting after eating fried and fatty foods;
  • the occurrence of pain during physical exertion in the upper abdominal region near the right rib;
  • violation of the chair.

If a patient seeks a doctor, he is diagnosed with an increase in the size of the hepatic organ, and on palpation, the liver has a dense structure and is very painful.

The third stage consists in the development of complications that appear after the echinococcal bladder reaches a large size or ruptures. Parasitic eggs begin to spread throughout the body. Among these complications are the following.

  1. Suppuration of the cyst. Pus forms inside the tumor. When the membrane ruptures, purulent fluid can enter the abdominal region and provoke the development of peritonitis. If a purulent bladder bursts in the chest area, purulent pleurisy of the lungs is formed.
  2. When a cyst ruptures, fluid is often directed into the bloodstream. In this situation, a person develops a severe allergy in the form of tissue swelling, a rash on the epidermis, and the development of shortness of breath. Further, echinococci begin to migrate through the body, settling in the lungs, bone tissues, brain and other systems.
  3. A huge bubble is able to exert pressure on neighboring organs and tissues. Most often, the portal vein or intrahepatic bile duct is compressed.

If the neoplasm compresses the bile ducts, bile gradually begins to penetrate into the bloodstream, causing jaundice, characterized by the appearance of a yellowish tinge on the epidermis, the development of itching, and urine staining amber.


When the lumen of the portal venous vessel is squeezed, there is an increase in the spleen, the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal area, a violation of the gastric, esophageal, and intestinal function.

If the inferior hollow venous vessel was blocked, cardiovascular insufficiency develops, kidneys, lungs, and also the brain suffer from a lack of oxygen supply

Alveolar pathology

With pulmonary damage, several cysts can develop, which contribute to the accelerated development of pathological symptoms. At an early stage, in addition to general symptoms, it may develop:

  • dry cough, which is accompanied by a fetid odor and gradually develops into a moist, foamy;
  • blood streaks appear in the sputum;
  • with the growth of bubbles in the chest area, soreness occurs.

The late stage is characterized by a significant increase in clinical symptoms. Echinococcal bubbles reach such sizes that they begin to squeeze the tissue of the lungs or rupture, provoking the spread of the larvae throughout the body.

When the bladder breaks through the pulmonary and cardiac membranes, shock develops, there is a risk of death. If the cardiac membrane has not been damaged, exudative pleurisy, which is characterized by the accumulation of a large volume of fluid between the pulmonary membranes, can develop.


Further, the lung is compressed, which provokes its refusal to exercise the respiratory function. The patient feels short of breath, begins to choke. This condition is accompanied by general intoxication of the body:

  • temperatures reaching up to 38.5 degrees;
  • fever;
  • soreness in the muscles;
  • profuse sweating.

Localization in other tissues

Sometimes small larvae penetrate the liver and lungs, entering the bloodstream, and are carried throughout the body, settling in various organs. So echinococcus can affect the brain, kidneys, bones.


The defeat of these tissues and organs is characterized by the formation of a cyst. However, the penetration of parasites into the tissues is diagnosed faster - this is due to the fact that the kidneys, brain and bones are not capable of maintaining the long-term vital activity of the parasitic form due to the lack of space for their growth. For example, when the larvae are localized in the region of the brain, parasites are not capable of long-term existence due to the location of the organ within the cranium. The growth of the bladder provokes the appearance of a feeling of pressure in the brain, which is why patients turn to doctors.

Alveolar echinococcosis for humans is more dangerous than hydatidosis, since it has the ability to penetrate into surrounding tissues, destroying them and disrupting their functions. However, this pathology is easier to diagnose, since many cysts develop symptoms faster.

At the later stages of development of echinococcosis, the function of the organ may completely stop, and the released larvae will spread throughout the body. Such echinococcosis is not treated.

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