Dr. Aditya Kulkarni is a Consultant of Laparoscopic and Robotic Gastrointestinal, Hepato-biliary-pancreatic, and Cancer Surgeon at the renowned Ruby Hall
Hydatid disease is associated with the parasitic infestation of a tapeworm of the genus named Echinococcus. It is mostly passed between sheep and dogs. The dogs carry hydatid parasites in their bowel without any indication of an infection. Sheep are generally affected while grazing in certain areas contaminated by dog feces. Humans generally get infected by eating (ingesting) parasitic eggs, in cases where there is hand-to-mouth transfer of these eggs in dog feces. This occurs while people handle dogs or objects contaminated with dog excrement.
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: –
- Feeling of lump in the belly
- Weight loss
- Stomach upset
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Swollen abdomen
Cysts commonly occur in either liver or lungs but may also occur in any other organ like heart, brain, and even bones. Cysts are diagnosed by CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, or x-ray and sometimes even confirmed by a blood test. The cyst fluid’s microscopic examination is also required occasionally. The incubation period may vary from months to years depending upon the number of cysts, their location, and their rapid growth. Surgical removal is the most common form of treatment of the cysts. Most often this is in association with a combination anti-parasitic drug therapy. Laparoscopic surgery has greatly improved the results in recent years.