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Multi-chamber echinococcosis is a very dangerous and difficult to detect disease, caused by the echinococcal tapeworm (echinococcosis). You can catch echinococcosis by eating unwashed berries. Unfortunately, echinococcosis is often confused with cancer. Most cases, if not treated properly, are fatal.

Echinococcosis(echinococcosis) is a zoonotic parasitic disease caused by a dangerousechinococcus tapewormof the genusEchinococcus:E. granulosusandE. multilocularis , exceptionallyE. oligarthrusiE. vogeli . Bąblowiec took a liking to the cool, northern climate. Until the 1990s, he prowled Western Europe (France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Since 1994, he also performs in Poland.

The eggs of this small (about 2 mm) but extremely dangerous echinococcosis tapeworm are found in the faeces of infecteddomestic and wild animals(foxes, wolves or dogs and cats). Together with it, they find their way toforest fleece . Animal feces do not leave a trace or smell, so you should forget about snacking on the berries straight from the bush. We may think that they are clean, but in fact they may contain the eggs of a dangerous tapeworm.

Echinococcosis - how can you get infected?

The infection occurs as a result ofswallowing the eggs of echinococcosis . The source of this infection isfinal host faeces . People most often become infected by direct contact with the dog's hair or by eating unwashed forest fruits.

The high-risk group includes people who have direct contact with foxes or their places of residence, i.e. hunters, foresters, brush pickers, farmers and skin tanners, as well as all people picking forest fruits, such as blueberries or blackberries or mushrooms .

Echinacea - what attacks the parasite?

Bubble gum is an extremely aggressive parasite. Its larvae, after getting into the body, select the most important parts of the human body:

  • liver (in over 90% of cases),
  • lungs,
  • brain,

and they nest there. A cyst forms around the larvae, which increases in size and compresses adjacent tissues. Multi-chamber echinococcosis for approx.10-15 yearsdoes not have to be symptomatic.

A rupture of a cyst can evenpay with your life .Then you experience severe vomiting (in the form of a watery fluid) and a sharp cough.

Echinococcosis - symptoms

The symptoms of echinococcosisdepend on the organ in which the larvae ofare located.Over 90 percent cases of echinococcosis develops in the liver.

1) Liver

If the tapeworm resides in the liver, it appears:

  • pain in the right hypochondrium, caused by the compression of a growing cyst (sometimes up to 20 cm in diameter)
  • jaundice

The most obvious symptom of echinococcosis is the presence of a cyst (cyst) containing larvae. It can be detected, sometimes by accident, during an abdominal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography or a simple x-ray.

Sometimes a cyst is mistaken for a neoplastic lesion, but during surgery to remove it, doctors quickly learn what they are dealing with.

Sometimes cysts with echinococcosis larvae arise in other organs. When they are located in the lungs, the patient may experience chest pains, coughing, hemoptysis and shortness of breath may appear.

When echinococcosis attacks the kidneys, kidney dysfunction, hematuria, and pain occur.

The presence of the parasite in the brain can signal headaches and psychoneurological disorders.

2) Lungs

If the larvae are located in the lungs, they appear:

  • hemoptysis
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains
  • itchy skin

3) Brain

If the larvae are in the brain, they appear:

  • headaches
  • mental disorders resulting from brain damage (psycho-organic syndrome)

4) Kidneys

  • recurrent kidney pains
  • hematuria
  • renal dysfunction

How to recognize echinococcosis?

For their own good, people at risk should undergopreventive examinationsimaging - once a yearabdominal ultrasoundthat can detect presence of a cyst on the liver, the organ most frequently attacked by echinococcosis. Report disturbing symptoms to the doctor.

A cyst with echinococcosis larvae canrupture , which causes the parasites to spread throughout the body. They can then infect other organs and even lead to an anaphylactic shock that is life-threatening.

  • Tasiemczyca - a rare zoonotic disease
  • Broad-blood tapeworm - a tapeworm that causes anemia

Echinococcosis: diagnosis and treatment

Multi-chamber echinococcosisis verydangerousandsevere todetectiondisease. Unfortunately, most cases of inadequately treatedlead to death . Most often, a good diagnosis is made only after the cyst ruptures or by accident, when treating another disease.

Doctors usually confuse echinococcosis with cancer, onlyradiological examinationshows the culprit, i.e. the echinococcosis tapeworm. The cysts are removedsurgically , thenantiparasitic chemotherapyis used to avoid relapse. It is not the end. For the next 10 years,checkupsare recommended to check if the echinococcus is hidden somewhere in the human body.


Dirty hands disease

The first case of the disease in Poland (Pomorskie Voivodeship) was detected in foxes in 1994. In 2007, there were40human cases, and in 2008 - around20 . Most cases were observed in the following voivodeships: Podkarpackie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Pomorskie. However, this does not mean that you should deny yourself delicious forest fruits.

Bubbles can be avoided. The most important thing is to follow the basichygiene rules . Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and wild strawberries should be thoroughly washed before eating, and the mushrooms should be scalded in hot water (forget about checking the raw mushrooms with your tongue). Pets can also be carriers of eggs (fortunately, very rarely), so you should wash your hands after each contact with a stray dog ​​or cat.

Echinococcosis - how to prevent infection?

  • deworming dogs and cats regularly
  • persons who come into direct contact with the definitive hosts or their faeces should wear protective gloves
  • after returning from mushroom picking or forest hike, wash your hands thoroughly
  • forest fruits must be washed under a stream of warm, running water before eating
  • always wash fruits and vegetables before eating
Worth knowing
  • tapeworm eggs are resistant to environmental conditions and chemicals
  • are able to survive long time in low temperatures and over a year in dried faeces
  • they are killed by the temperature above 50 degrees C
  • in -70 degrees Celsius lose their invasiveness only after several dozen hours

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