Hydatid disease which also called hydatidosis or echinococcosis is potentially a serious and fatal condition caused by cysts that contains the larvae of the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm(dog tapeworm). Usually, hydatid cyst disease affects the liver and less frequently it also affects the lung, spleen, kidneys and the brain. They are parasites that live in the liver.
How It Affects Humans?
Mostly hydatid infections are passed between sheep, dogs, goats and horses. The hydatid parasite mostly carried by dogs without any symptoms of infection in their bowel. Sheep or goat get infected grazing in the fields contaminated with dog faeces and dogs get infected by having uncooked sheep meat. Humans don’t get infected by eating the infected offal. People usually get infected by swallowing the tapeworm eggs accidentally.
The same way as a sheep, dog and goat – human also acts as an intermediate host between humans. The eggs travel through your bloodstream, settles in your organs and forms watery cysts with tapeworm. This is called as hydatid cyst disease or echinococcosis. Hydatid disease of the liver is not contagious or can’t be passed by person-to-person. It occurs when the hand-to-mouth transfer of eggs by any means.
What Are Signs Of Hydatid Disease?
From the time ingestion of the tapeworm eggs, it may take months to many years to develop symptoms of hydatid disease. The signs and symptoms depend upon the organs which it is affected. The liver is the most common organ affected by hydatid cyst. In rare cases, cysts can also form in the thyroid gland, heart and within the bone.
Sometimes they may go symptomless. If they occur, the signs may include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Stomach upset
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
If the cyst leaks or ruptures release blood or the fluid causing a severe allergic reaction and some it even cause death.
Laparoscopic Surgery For Hydatid Cysts
Often, treatment for hydatid cysts is complicated and depends on the size and location of the cysts. Surgical intervention is often required to remove the cysts. Drugs that can kill the tapeworms might also be used in some cases and the drug needs to be injected into the cysts.
Laparoscopic treatment of hydatid cysts in the liver can be done safely for selected patients. As in the case of laparoscopic operations, laparoscopic hydatid surgery follows some basic surgical principles to treat hydatid cysts of the liver. It is specially designed to evacuate the cyst, preventing spillage of the cyst, sterilization with sporicidal agents, and managing the residual cavity.