Infected accidentally by swallowing the tapeworm eggs passed in the dog faeces, human here act as an intermediate host in the same way as a sheep, horse or kangaroo. The procedure involves the travelling of eggs through the bloodstream, lodged in organs and forming watery cysts full of tapeworm heads. This is known as hydatid disease or echinococcosis. Not being a communicable disease, the hydatid disease is not passed by person-to-person contact.
The term ‘tapeworm’ can be defined as a group of parasitic worms that live in the gut of animals, including humans. They can be caused when there is consumption of raw or undercooked animal products that contain worm larvae also humans can become infected after close contact with animals like cats and dogs. However, a person coming in contact with the faeces of an infected dog is more vulnerable to hydatid disease. It leads to the formation of cysts in the liver and lungs.
The life cycle of a tapeworm
There are two hosts that are needed by the tapeworm to complete its life cycle:
- Intermediate host
Intermediate host is sheep, pigs, cattle, goats, horses, camels, wallabies and kangaroos. The infection is caused when the grazing animal eats dog or dingo faeces infected with tapeworm eggs. The eggs hatch in the animal’s gut into embryos (called oncospheres). These embryos will then penetrate the wall of the intestine and are carried in the bloodstream to vital organs such as the liver, lungs or brain, where they can develop into watery ‘blisters’ called hydatid cysts.
- Definitive host
A definitive host such as dogs and dingoes. Here, the infection begins when the animal eats offal that contains hydatid cysts. This is then followed by the bursting of swallowed cysts and the tapeworm heads travel to the gut and attach themselves to the intestine wall. The tapeworms are mature after about six weeks. An adult E. granulosis tapeworm is only six millimeters long. Each mature worm grows and sheds the last segment of its body about every two weeks. This last segment contains immature eggs. This is then followed by passing the eggs from the animal’s body in faeces and may stick to the animal’s hair or contaminate the vegetable garden. These are highly resistant to weather conditions and can remain viable for months. They have to be swallowed by an animal (intermediate host) to form hydatid cysts.
Diagnosis of hydatid disease
You can get to know if you are having a hydatid disease by:
- Examining your medical history
- Physical examination
- X-ray tests and ultrasound test
- CT and MRI scan
- Examining your blood, urine, sputum, faeces or other bodily fluids if a burst hydatid cyst is suspected
- Other blood tests for antibodies to the cysts.
How to treat hydatid disease?
Hydatid disease treatment surgery as the only option suitable. The surgery involves some potential risk that a hydatid cyst may rupture and spread tapeworm heads throughout the patient’s body which make the whole body infected and results in many complications. Here, the best doctor provides a combination of drugs in conjunction with surgery in order to avoid risk. The consumption of drugs helps to destroy the remaining tapeworm heads. However, the disease is redundant by nature and recur again demanding for the treatment.
So, if you are suffering from the same problem then there is no logic of waiting for more. One can go for a hydatid cyst surgery in Delhi as being the capital it offers some good hospitals in the city.