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Parasitic infestation: Echinococcosis

Constipation in children

Echinococcosis infection


If there are canines in your community, make sure they are well-taken care of, their wastes are disposed properly, and they have their regular immunizations. Otherwise, they will not turn out to be man's best friend when worms start to get them off their senses!

Echinococcosis is the condition that happens when humans ingest canine tapeworm eggs and eventually serve as its intermediate hosts. The principal species responsible for the condition are Echinococcus granulosus (which is transmitted by domestic dogs in areas where livestock is prominent) and Echinococcus multilocularis (which is transmitted by wild canines). E. granulosus is most common in the Middle East, New Zealand, Africa, southern Europe, south America, Australia, central Asia, and even in the southwestern areas of the United States. An increase of cases in Europe was associated with the increase in fox populations at the area. On the other hand, E. multilocularis is prominent among forest areas located at the northern hemisphere: to include Siberia, western Alaska, northwestern Canada, central Europe, extending even to northern Japan.

After ingestion via the fecal-oral route, or even through ingestion of eggs through frequent contact with a dog's fur or the grass around the area, the ingested eggs then hatch in the intestines, forming oncospheres. These are capable of penetrating the mucosa and entering the systemic circulation, thus favoring encystment in almost any organ of the body. The cysts are able to persist even for years without being symptomatic. Usually, these cysts are only found incidentally by the use of imaging studies. This is simply bad news for those who happen not to go for regular check-ups, and are residing in places where this tapeworm is endemic to.

The liver and the lungs are the most frequent sites of encystment. The enlargement of cysts result to symptoms, which commonly involve abdominal pain or chest pain, cholangitis (inflammation of the bile duct), portal hypertension, liver cirrhosis (due to significant liver involvement), and even bronchial obstruction and lung collapse. Fever, allergic reactions, and hypotension are also most likely.

The chief treatment option involves surgical resection of the cysts, in conjunction with pharmacologic therapy. As with the other cases of invasive cestode infections, treatment options have to be properly weighed to ensure that the organs involved will more or less remain functional. Care has to be exercised so that the cysts will not be ruptured, otherwise it will result to further spread.

Therefore, if you are taking care of dogs, then make sure they are clean enough not to become a source of disease. In cases such as echinococcosis, you do not have to eat dog meat to get the worms – instead even by merely running your hands through their fur, you may have access to these parasites. So do not take this warning for granted!

In to swimbi.com