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Can parasites form cysts in Humans?
Saturday, 12 September 2009

Selahattin HilalogluHydatid Cyst is the name given for the cysts in humans caused by Echinococcus parasites. They are called hydadite since they are filled with fluid. The original name is hydatide cyst. It is known among people as cysts transmitted from dogs and cats to humans.


There are three known types of echinococcosis; Echinococcus Granulosus, Echinococcus Multilocularis and Echinococcus Vogeli. While Echinococcus Vogeli has been rarely observed, Echinococcus Granulosus is the most common type. The most dangerous type is Echinococcus Multilocularis since they have an alveolar structure. The cysts infest the liver, lungs, brain, milt, kidneys, muscles and also the bones. Echinococcus parasites affect 60% the liver, 25% the lungs, 5% the muscles, 3% the bones, 2% the kidneys and 1% the milt and the brain.


After being infected with the parasites eggs the incubation period is highly variable. It can take 5 to 55 years. Although the incubation period is variable, the cysts can grow one cm per year.


The cysts can harm in two different ways. Firstly, the dysfunction of affected organs and secondly an anaphlaxis shock if they happen to rupture. The anaphlaxis schock is due to the fluid and the worm’s head (scolex) which are inside the cyst. The release of the cyst contents may result in a severe allergic reaction. Anaphlaxis schock might be fatal.


How is the infection cycle and how is the parasite transmitted to humans?


Meat eater (Carnivores) animals become infected with the parasites by consuming contaminated meat, internal organs and bones of intermediate hosts such as sheep, cattle, goats and mice.  The adult parasites live in the intestinal tract of cats, dogs and other meat eater animals. They then produce eggs which are expelled in the host's feces. There are two ways of being infected for humans. Firstly, when the eggs are expelled in the feces the anus of the host animal becomes contaminated.  When they scratch or lick their anus the parasites are spread over their fur and then passed from their fur to our hands while stroking the pet. If basic hygiene practices such as washing hands after handling with pets are not followed, the parasites are transmitted to humans.


Secondly, Echinococcus parasites in the feces of the meat eater animals can be spread through rain and wind on vegetables, especially on vegetables such as lettuce. If humans consume them without following the hygiene practices they may become infected with the parasite eggs and this can lead to cyst formation.


The treatment for humans is mainly surgical resection of the cyst. In recent years, there have been new therapy techniques developed. For example, the aspiration of cyst fluid or killing the parasites inside the cyst.


For the treatment of dogs and cats are injectable praziquantal solutions or tablets used. Praziquantel solutions are injected under the skin or in the muscles 1cc per 10 kg or one tablet per 10 kg.


To prevent infection in dogs and cats do not feed or allow dogs and cats to eat uncooked meat or bones, and safely dispose internal organs and meat containing cysts. Humans should wash all the vegetables which are consumed raw.  The best way of washing vegetables is to soak them 30 minutes in salt or vinegar solution. And of course hand washing before eating or preparing food is also very important.


Dogs and cats should be preventively treated for parasites,shots or oral as explained above, about every three months.



Selahattin Hilaloglu

Ozge Veterinary Clinic
Phone: 0252 394 39 81
GSM   : 0532 394 12 15
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Translated by Gumusluk.Org


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