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Echinococcus Granulosus

Eskimo-coccus Granny
Picmonic
Echinococcus granulosus, also known as the dog tapeworm, is a cestode that is transmitted to humans through dog feces. When it's eggs are ingested, echinococcus leads to hydatid cysts in the liver, which also lead to surrounding necrosis and fibrosis. Caregivers should be careful, as if these cysts are broken, anaphylaxis can occur from the released antigens. The preferred treatments are albendazole or surgical removal of the cysts.
7 KEY FACTS
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY
Cestode (Tapeworm)
Crest-toad with Tapeworm

Echinococcus is a cestode, or tapeworm, that ranges in length from 2-7mm in length.

Ingestion of Eggs from Dog Feces
Eggs with Dog Feces

This is transmitted to humans when echinococcus eggs are ingested. These eggs are found in the feces of the definitive host, dogs. Thus, proper hygeine helps prevent spread of echinococcus granulosus.

Hydatid Cysts in Liver
Hydro with Cyst-sisters with Liver

Once infected, this infection causes slow-growing cysts to grow in the liver (rarely, the lungs, spleen and heart). These are called hydatid cysts and are filled with clear fluid containing antigens.  Depending on their size, these cysts can be asymptomatic or present as an uncomfortable mass.

Fibrosis and Necrosis
Fibrous-net and Necrosis-crow

Often, due to cyst growth, the body can react with fibrosis and necrosis in the infected tissue.

Anaphylaxis if Antigens Released
Anvil-axes when Ant-gem is Released

Caregivers should be cautioned when examining and treating this infection. If cysts rupture while in the body, from surgical extraction of bodily trauma, the patient will go into anaphylactic shock and develop high fever, pruritis, edema, and breathing difficulties.

TREATMENT
Albendazole
Abe-Bond

Albendazole is the most common pharmacologic treatment used against echinococcus infection. It is typically combined with open surgical removal of the cysts.

Surgical Removal
Scalpel

If the cysts are in an accessible location, open surgical removal of cysts is used to treat patients infected with echinococcus.

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