Echinococcosis: What Is It And The Cycle Of Development Of The Worm, Symptoms In Humans And Treatment

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Echinococcosis: What Is It And The Cycle Of Development Of The Worm, Symptoms In Humans And Treatment
Echinococcosis: What Is It And The Cycle Of Development Of The Worm, Symptoms In Humans And Treatment

Video: Echinococcosis: What Is It And The Cycle Of Development Of The Worm, Symptoms In Humans And Treatment

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Video: Hydatid cyst of Echinococcus granulosus(Dog tapeworm) : Discussed in details everything you need 2023, February

Many patients who end up in the infectious diseases department are interested in the question of what it is - echinococcosis. This disease belongs to the group of helminthic invasions. The most susceptible to it are residents of countries with a low social level in Africa and Asia, as well as India. Among the regions of Russia, people are most often infected in Siberia, the Krasnodar Territory, or the southern regions.


  • 1 Structure and life cycle of the parasite
  • 2 Ways of human infection
  • 3 Symptoms of human damage

    • 3.1 Symptoms of pulmonary echinococcosis
    • 3.2 Liver
    • 3.3 Biliary tract
    • 3.4 Kidney
    • 3.5 Infection of the brain
  • 4 Forms of echinococcosis, features and stages of the disease
  • 5 What complications provokes
  • 6 Methods of diagnosis

    • 6.1 Diagnostics in the laboratory
    • 6.2 Instrumental
    • 6.3 History
    • 6.4 Serological method
  • 7 How to get rid of parasites

    • 7.1 Surgically
    • 7.2 Medicines
    • 7.3 Traditional methods
  • 8 Features of the treatment of echinococcosis in children
  • 9 Preventive procedures

The structure and life cycle of the parasite

Echinococcus is a tapeworm that is the smallest in comparison with representatives of its genus, and develops in several stages. The adult pathogen does not exceed 5 millimeters in size. There are several components in its body, among which the head, neck and segments are distinguished. The number of the latter does not exceed four.

Echinococcus eggs persist in the environment for a long time. They are resistant to low temperatures, but are sensitive to the action of alcohol-containing agents, drying and heating

In the human body, the pathogen exists only in larvae. They are found in cysts with a thick shell containing chitin. Each cyst is filled with fluid, with daughter cysts constantly increasing in size. Due to this, multi-chamber appears. This period often has clinical manifestations.

Echinococcus worms have a complex life cycle with a change of hosts. Its main owner is dogs, foxes or wolves, which secrete the eggs of the pathogen from the intestines through feces. This form can spread with the soil and fall into the hands of a person. If the rules of hygiene are not observed, the use of water from the reservoir, as well as the lack of processing of berries and mushrooms, eggs get to the main host.

In its digestive tract, the larva emerges and becomes attached to the mucous membrane. After its introduction into the wall, the inferior cavity, as well as the portal vein, enters the pool. Hematogenously, the larva spreads into organs and forms the oncosphere.


Ways of human infection

Echinococcosis can be transmitted in various ways. When a person is ill, it is necessary to take into account the presence of several hosts in the life cycle of pathogens. People can become infected through:

  1. Entry of larvae through dirty hands when a person does not follow the rules of personal hygiene or does not wash his hands well enough.
  2. Eating untreated water. In some cases, it is enough for a person to drink water from a rural well.
  3. Eating contaminated food. These can be fruits or vegetables. To prevent the preservation of the helminth, treatment with boiling water is necessary.
  4. Insufficient heat treatment of meat. The most infected with echinococcus are pigs or calves.

These paths are most often encountered in clinical practice.

Symptoms of human defeat

After infection has occurred, clinical manifestations in an adult can be very diverse. This is largely due to the defeat of almost all organs.

Symptoms of pulmonary echinococcosis

The appearance of a cyst that affects the respiratory system caused by infection of an echinococcus is characterized by:

  • The development of discomfort in the chest area. Gradually, it develops into a pain syndrome of varying intensity. It is difficult for the patient to inhale. The condition worsens with physical exertion, especially when climbing stairs.
  • Shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is of a mixed type and tends to get worse.
  • Formation of cough. At the initial stages, it is not accompanied by sputum separation; later, the appearance of blood streaks can be noted. The cough has a paroxysmal, hacking character, which does not relieve the patient. As the cyst grows, more phlegm begins to separate. It has a light color and medium density.
  • The appearance of cyanosis. The degree of its intensity, as well as localization, depends on the size of the cyst, which occupies most of the lung. At small sizes, the development of diffuse cyanosis will be noted, but an increase in the growth of education leads to respiratory failure and its transition to a diffuse type.
  • The development of intoxication. With the breakthrough of education, an acute inflammatory process develops with a deterioration in the condition, an increase in temperature, and also a pain syndrome. If the cyst was located next to the pleura, a pronounced pain syndrome develops.
  • Strengthening the body's hypersensitivity with the appearance of allergic reactions. A severe course is accompanied by the development of anaphylactic shock.


When the pathogen enters the liver cells through the hematogenous pathway and multiplies it, healthy tissue is replaced by a cyst that contains echinococcus.

Among the manifestations are:

  1. The development of discomfort, discomfort, as well as pain, which may be associated with overstretching of the capsule and irritation of nerve fibers. The intensity of symptoms directly depends on the severity of the pathological process.
  2. When an infection gets in or the integrity of the cyst is violated, intoxication develops with an increase in temperature to subfebrile or febrile numbers, weakness and malaise. The involvement of the biliary tract contributes to the development of symptoms of the clinic of cholangitis of purulent etiology.
  3. Due to an increase in the body's sensitivity to allergens, an allergic reaction may develop. High severity can cause anaphylactic shock.

With echinococcosis of the liver, the pathogen quickly spreads to other organs.

Biliary tract

The defeat of the gallbladder and ducts is characterized by the development of:

  1. Pain in the right hypochondrium. Characterized by a change in intensity depending on food intake and the degree of filling of the bladder cavity with the pathogen. In some cases, the pain resembles hepatic colic.
  2. Nausea and vomiting, which is reflex and does not depend on food intake.
  3. Fevers with chills.
  4. The appearance of jaundice caused by blockage of the bladder, as well as its inflammation. The patient's condition deteriorates sharply.


Most typical for patients is the lesion of the left kidney, which is associated with the peculiarities of its localization and structure. This moment is important when making a diagnosis. The main symptoms of the manifestations of renal echinococcosis are characterized by the following manifestations:

  • Intoxication with an increase in body temperature, mainly to subfebrile numbers, as well as weakness, general malaise, impaired appetite, unmotivated weight loss.
  • In the area of ​​the hypochondrium, from the side where the kidney is affected, pain syndrome is noted. The pain is dull, of the same intensity. Its strengthening occurs with the growth of education. In some cases, it may show signs that resemble renal colic.
  • Itching. It is not characterized by the development of rashes, as well as the appearance of scratching.
  • Increased blood pressure. When the focus is localized in the sinus area, the patient may note the development of arterial hypertension, which is not controlled by taking medications.
  • Hematuria or pyuria. When a cyst breaks out, blood in the urine is characteristic. With suppuration of the formation, the discharge of pus is noted.
  • Pain in the bladder area. A breakthrough of the cyst can be accompanied by the release of daughter elements along the ureter into the bladder, which is accompanied by a sharp change in well-being, imperative urges and the development of cystitis.

Brain infection

The clinical picture of echinococcosis in the brain has a varied course. It depends on the location of the lesion that damaged the structure of the nervous system

Among the symptoms, development is distinguished:

  • Hypertensive syndrome, in which the effect of the therapy is not achieved.
  • Headaches of various localization, arising spontaneously. As the education increases, the intensity of the headache increases, with the further addition of nausea and vomiting.
  • Dizziness, which is of a different nature.
  • Seizures of epilepsy, which occurs spontaneously, against the background of complete health. With the frequent occurrence of seizures accompanied by tetraparesis, the disease can often be detected. At the same time, dementia, impaired perception of information with memory impairment is gradually formed.
  • Paralysis and paresis, as well as gait disturbances. The patient is unable to maintain balance, as a result of which walking becomes impossible.
  • Acute respiratory failure with damage to the medulla oblongata.

Forms of echinococcosis, features and stages of the disease

With the disease, several types of lesions are distinguished:

  1. Brain.
  2. Liver.
  3. Kidney.
  4. Biliary tract.
  5. The spine.
  6. Eyeball.

Among the stages of the pathological process, there are:

  1. Latent.
  2. Clinical manifestations.
  3. Complications.

Forms of echinococcosis:

  1. Cystic lesion.
  2. Alveolar form.

The disease differs in that its course features do not always correspond to the severity of pathological manifestations. The incubation period will largely depend on the state of the immune forces and the localization of the pathological focus.


What complications provokes

The development of echinococcosis can cause complications such as:

  1. The development of intoxication, in which the patient feels constant malaise and weakness. The disease causes a decrease in performance, immunity, as well as degenerative processes in the organs.
  2. Formation of allergic reactions of varying severity, up to anaphylactic shock.
  3. The appearance of abscesses that can break through with the outflow of pus into the pleural or abdominal cavity. The most dangerous in this case is the formation of peritonitis with tissue seeding by the pathogen.

Untimely assistance is threatened with the possibility of death.

Diagnostic methods

Correctly selected studies help reduce the risk of late detection of pathology and the development of complications. Diagnostics includes several directions using various techniques.

Diagnostics in the laboratory

General blood analysis. When it is carried out, eosinophilia is revealed, characteristic of infection with helminths. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is also accelerated.

Biochemical blood test. The technique allows you to detect a shift in the albumin fraction and a decrease in prothrombin. Gamma globulins rise.

Bacterial culture of body fluids such as urine or sputum. When the pathogen is identified, echinococcus is detected.

Casoni test. Allergic test to exclude the presence of hypersensitivity to the pathogen. A positive result indicates that the patient is infected.



Ultrasound procedure. Currently, this technique is widespread. It is non-invasive and painless. The study allows you to assess the condition of the liver, biliary tract and kidneys. The defeat of these organs is most typical in case of infection with echinococcus. To prepare before the procedure, you must not eat for 10 hours. This will allow you to carefully examine the tissue of the hepatobiliary system.

Computed and magnetic resonance imaging. These techniques are highly informative, they allow you to identify pathology at the initial stages of the pathological process. Unlike ultrasound, the pathogen is identified in the lung tissue. Its implementation is recommended only if there is a suspicion of the presence of a pathological process as a result of other methods.

X-ray examination. The technique is prescribed to assess the condition of the lung tissue. It is distinguished by the presence of a large number of contraindications and restrictions to the appointment. Has less information content compared to topographic methods.


The data of the patient's anamnesis are of great importance in making the diagnosis. It is important for the doctor to exclude the presence of risk factors, possible modes of transmission, as well as the dynamics of the development of symptoms.

Serological method

When diagnosing, a study is carried out for the presence of a group of antibodies in the blood. The main research methods are enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, as well as a reaction with indirect agglutination. They are the most highly sensitive and allow a diagnosis of even the most severe cases.

How to get rid of parasites

Specialists treat patients in a combination of several ways. In adults, treatment for milder forms of lesion is carried out on an outpatient basis. In childhood, hospitalization of the patient is recommended due to the high risk of complications.



Removal of the cyst, if drug treatment is ineffective, must be performed using a surgical approach. The amount of intervention is determined by the severity of the pathological process. It is recommended to make minimal intervention, without damaging healthy tissue.

It should be remembered that it is impossible to prevent the breakthrough of the cyst and the spread of the pathogen throughout the body. This is especially important when the formation is localized in the brain, since excessive removal of healthy tissue can cause the appearance of irreversible defects.

In some cases, complete removal of the organ is resorted to, for example, cholecystectomy or nephrectomy, in the liver it is preferable to remove the formation within one lobe.


Drug therapy is carried out after the surgery. Treatment is carried out with Albendazole. The average course should be, on average, 3 months, if necessary, it increases, and can reach several months. In order to achieve complete recovery, several cycles are carried out, which are prescribed after 3 months.

In case of insufficient therapeutic effect, treatment is replaced with Mebendazole. The average course is from one to several years


Folk methods

Treatment of echinococcosis using folk methods is effective only with the initial signs of pathology. In this case, it is necessary to apply treatment only in combination with medicinal methods. Their use is possible only after consultation with a specialist. Among the main recipes used to eliminate echinococcosis are:

  1. Wormwood decoction. For its preparation, it is necessary to pour the plant in dry form with boiling water and continue heating over low heat for several minutes. After cooling, the mixture is filtered and applied several times a day.
  2. Whole Black Peas. The therapeutic effect is achieved with the daily use of one pea.
  3. A mixture of ginger with milk or tea. To prepare the mixture, grind the ginger and mix it fresh in warm milk or tea. The average weight is no more than 50 grams.
  4. A mixture of lemon, garlic and honey. To prepare it, all of the listed ingredients are mixed in equal proportions and consumed daily, before meals, in the morning.

Features of the treatment of echinococcosis in children

Treatment of echinococcosis in childhood consists in a combination of drug therapy and surgical methods.

The problem with prescribing pills is age restriction. Many of these effects can occur when Albendazole is used in children under the age of six.

Up to 18 years, the dosage is adjusted according to age, on average, it is 15 micrograms / kilogram. During the reception of funds, regular monitoring of the condition is carried out.


Preventive procedures

In order to prevent the development of echinococcosis, the following rules must be observed:

  1. People who work in contact with animals require regular body examinations.
  2. In the presence of pets, deworming is carried out.
  3. If symptoms characteristic of an infection are detected, it is necessary to seek medical help in a timely manner and carry out specific treatment.
  4. Control the quality of food prepared with sufficient heat treatment.
  5. Monitor personal hygiene. Prevention consists in the use of hygiene and disinfectants.
  6. Treat water thoroughly before drinking.

Early detection of the disease can improve the prognosis. Late initiation of therapy causes severe consequences for the body.

In some cases, patients are faced with disability due to persistent disorders of the internal organs

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