Echinococcosis: symptoms and treatment

Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease that often occurs in humans. Across the globe, it is distributed unevenly. Frequent cases of morbidity are noted in those countries where agricultural activity prevails. Echinococcus can attack any organ in the human body. Echinococcosis develops in children, as well as in adults from different age groups.


The causative agents of this disease are echinococci. They can only parasitize in the body in the form of a larva. Outwardly it looks like a bubble having one or several chambers. The bubble inside is filled with a special liquid, in which the embryos, called scolexes, ripen. The endogenous membrane of the bladder has a specific feature — on it are certain areas reproducing new larvae. Bubble sizes are constantly increasing. Accordingly, there is a compression of surrounding tissues and a violation of their normal functioning.

Transmission Path

Mature parasites live in the intestines of animals. Eggs of mature individuals enter the environment with excreted caloric masses. In the future, the ways of their distribution may diverge:

  • Some of the echinococcus eggs can be swallowed by small rodents, in particular rats, mice, hamsters and others. The larvae enter the intestine and through its walls penetrate the bloodstream and move to the liver. This is the final place of their maturation. If a wild or domestic animal eats such a rodent, then parasites will infect him too;
  • Some eggs can enter the intestines of farm animals along with water, grass, or other feed. Larvae also first penetrate into their intestines, and from it are already transferred to other organs. A person can become infected if he uses inadequately processed meat
  • Human non-compliance with hygiene rules. Eggs of worms enter the body through unwashed products or hands.

After the larvae have entered the intestine of a person, they through the mucous membrane get into the blood and move to the liver.


Echinococcosis is not an acute ailment, in which the temperature rises rapidly or chills appear, severe pain, nausea. In this case, the situation is much more complicated. The fact that he is sick, a person may not know for a long time, since the symptoms of an illness can not manifest themselves immediately.

Clinicians distinguish several forms of echinococcosis. Each has its own symptomatology. But there is a group of symptoms that are characteristic of each:

  1. Periodically, a person has severe headaches;
  2. fatigue;
  3. weakness of the body
  4. degraded performance
  5. Temporary increase in temperature;
  6. small-dotted red spots appear on the skin.

Echinococcosis of the liver

Echinococcosis of the liver is the form of an ailment that most often develops in humans. As a rule, the disease occurs in several stages and each of them has its own symptomatology.

The first stage of development of pathology occurs almost imperceptibly. Parasites after they have got into the body, begin to penetrate into the liver tissue and form a special protective capsule. Symptoms are not expressed.

For the second stage of the development of liver echinococcosis, the appearance of the above general symptoms is typical. Later they are joined and symptoms of liver damage:

  • nausea and vomiting. Typically, these two symptoms occur after the patient ate fatty or spicy foods;
  • Diarrhea. It develops due to the fact that the liver in insufficient quantity releases bile, which is necessary for normal digestion of fats.

If you conduct a patient examination, you can note hepatomegaly. At palpation the liver will be dense. These symptoms of liver echinococcosis are similar to those of viral hepatitis, so it is important to conduct a differential diagnosis competently. To do this, the patient will need to undergo a series of examinations — to take a blood test, make ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and so on.

The third stage develops if the cyst ruptured, and the eggs of the worms spread with blood flow throughout the human body. This usually provokes a number of complications. If the first 2 stages were characterized only by symptoms of liver damage, then the third already has symptoms of impaired functioning of other organs and systems. In this case, the patient is urgently sent for surgery.


  1. festering cysts. This state is extremely dangerous. Inside the cyst formed in the liver, pus is formed. If the abscess ruptures, then its contents can enter the abdominal or thoracic cavity;
  2. rupture of the cyst. As a result, its contents enter the bloodstream. This condition is manifested by the appearance of a pronounced allergic reaction. The reason is that when a rupture is released a lot of BASs of a different nature, which lead to the appearance of rash, edema;
  3. If the cyst is large, it can squeeze the tissues surrounding it, which is also a dangerous condition for the body. If it squeezes the intrahepatic ducts, the bile will not go into the gallbladder, and then into the small intestine, and it will start to seep into the blood. This condition is called obstructive jaundice. The color of the patient’s skin becomes yellow, sometimes with a greenish tinge. The person feels a constant itch of the skin, the urine becomes dark.

Echinococcosis of the lungs

Echinococcosis of the lungs has two stages of development. The initial stage begins when the echinococcus penetrated the pulmonary system and the cyst began to form. It grows quite slowly and the symptoms of the disease are not immediately apparent. The danger is that such a cyst may not be one. If there are several of them, then the symptomatology of the disease will manifest much earlier.

For the early stage of lung echinococcosis, the following symptoms are typical:

  • chest pain
  • Dry cough. Gradually, he will get an unpleasant smell and become foamy and moist. After some time without proper treatment, blood veins may appear in it.

The late stage of lung echinococcosis is characterized by a worsening of symptoms, as the size of the cyst becomes very large, it begins to squeeze the lung tissue that surrounds it. The most dangerous thing about this is that at any moment it can just burst.

Options for the development of the late stage:

  1. If the cyst is suppurated, and the pus begins to spread, then various inflammatory processes will begin in the lungs (pneumonia usually develops). In this case, surgical removal of the cyst is indicated. The operation is the only sure way of treatment;
  2. If the cyst ruptures and breaks through the lungs and the shell next to the heart, the person immediately develops a shock, which leads to death. If the heart is not damaged, then in most clinical cases exudative pleurisy develops. The affected lung ceases to participate in the act of breathing. The patient must urgently begin to provide medical assistance, otherwise, if his condition worsens, death may occur. The optimal method of treatment of lung echinococcosis is the operation.

Echinococcosis of the brain

There are cases when the larvae enter the liver, then into the lungs, and then again seep into the bloodstream and move to the kidneys, the brain. Echinococcosis of the brain has several distinctive features. So, the course of this disease is not asymptomatic. The reason is that parasites in it can not develop for a long time imperceptibly, since even a slight change in pressure in the skull causes headache, dizziness and so on. Fortunately, echinococcosis of the brain develops in humans not so often.

Alveolar echinococcosis

Alveolar echinococcosis is one of the subspecies of echinococcosis. With alveolar echinococcosis, not one cyst is formed, but many small ones. They can easily pass into neighboring tissues and destroy them. Symptoms are very pronounced. Cysts destroy the organ, and it ceases to function normally. With blood they penetrate into their next target, where the picture repeats itself. There is no way to cure alveolar echinococcosis.


Diagnosis of echinococcosis includes laboratory tests and instrumental methods of examination. It is also important to conduct a thorough examination of the patient, to collect an anamnesis of the disease.

Laboratory tests:

  • RSK;
  • RNGA
  • Cazzoni’s test
  • A general blood test. When echinococcosis in the blood test there is eosinophilia, as well as an increase in ESR;
  • Biochemical blood test.

All these analyzes help identify specific changes in the blood.

Instrumental methods are also important for the diagnosis of echinococcosis, as are laboratory tests. With their help, you can determine the presence in the organs of the cysts:

  1. Ultrasound;
  2. CT;
  3. X-ray;
  4. Laparoscopic method.

Based on the data obtained with the help of the lab. Analyzes and instrumental methods of examination, the doctor will be able to accurately diagnose and prescribe the treatment of echinococcosis.


Treatment of echinococcosis is only surgical. With the help of folk remedies, it will not be cured. And do not engage in self-medication, because you can provoke the development of various complications. Folk recipes can only be an auxiliary therapy, but not the main method of treatment. And they can be used only with the permission of the attending physician. It is important to remember that no folk remedy will help the echinococcal cyst to resolve.

Before and after surgery, the patient is prescribed to take anthelminthic drugs. The doctor selects the dosage strictly individually, taking into account the peculiarities of the course of the disease. This approach makes it possible to delay the growth of the cyst.

The essence of the operation — the surgeon removes the cyst with a capsule, as well as the altered tissue that surrounded it. This method is used if the cyst is located closer to the surface of the organ. If the cyst is located deep in the tissues, then the technique of the operation varies slightly. The cyst is not removed, but punctured and sucked off its contents. After that, its endogenous layers are cleaned and the cavity is washed with a formalin solution.

After the operation, a person will stay in the hospital for some time under the supervision of doctors. If his state of health improves, he is soon discharged. About full recovery can be said when the immunological tests of the blood will show a negative result. They will be taken from the patient for four years.