Hydatid disease is called Echinococcosis. Echinococcal disease is parasitic infection by the tapeworm Echinococcus Granulosus, mainly at its larval stage. One of the main types of disease is cystic Echinococcosis or hydatid cyst. Domestic dogs and foxes are natural carriers of hydatid disease. The treatment to this condition can be complicated, expensive requiring surgical intervention and drug therapy. Clinical characteristics depend upon the size of the cyst, the organs involved and depth of adjacent infection to other organs.
A tapeworm requires at least two hosts to complete its life cycle in animals; the intermediate host and definitive host. In humans the infections happen when the human is an intermediate host.
People are usually infected when they come in contact with dogs or other animals who are carriers of the Echinococcus. It takes a long time and many years for the cyst to persist and grow very large in humans. Once infected, it moves through the bloodstream and into the organs, lodging themselves to form watery cysts. The cysts are full of tapeworm heads. Hydatid disease is not contagious and is not passed on from one person to another upon human contact.
The symptoms to the disease predominantly depend upon the organ that has been affected. It is usually the liver that is affected with hydatid disease. Sometimes they are also found in the heart, bone and thyroid gland. There are no evident immediate symptoms, since it may take months and even years for the cyst to develop. Once developed some of the symptoms are:-
The diagnosis for hydatid disease usually starts with medical history given by the patient. Besides physical examination, the following diagnosis may also be conducted: