Diagnosis of echinococcosis

  • Why is early diagnosis important?
  • Indication for the study
  • Methods of diagnosing the disease
  • What you need to know before you pass the tests
  • Related Videos

Echinococcosis is a disease caused by the smallest ribbon parasitic worms (echinococcus). The length of one worm does not exceed 1 cm, but a large number of them in the body can lead to serious consequences, up to a fatal outcome.

For this reason, echinococcal infection is considered to be one of the most dangerous, therefore diagnostics require special concentration of attention, and treatment can not do without surgical intervention. The analysis for echinococcosis is carried out with the purpose of revealing parasites in the body.

Why is early diagnosis important?

Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease that has been asymptomatic for a long time. The causative agent of the disease is a tapeworm, which can penetrate into any organs and maintain activity in them for more than six months. Contained in feces of humans and animals, resistant to the effects of aggressive environmental factors.

The main cause of infection is a violation of hygiene rules, close contact with domestic animals, eating meat, thermally poorly processed. After the ingress of worms into the body, they are absorbed into the intestine and circulate throughout the body with blood flow.

In the risk group, people working with animals (veterinarians, cynologists, zootechnicians, etc.) can be included. The delivery of biological material is recommended at least once every 12 months in order to detect infection in the early stages of the disease.

Important! Echinococcus is not transmitted from person to person.

Living in the body of the intermediate host, echinococcus begins to form cysts (echinococcus bubbles), whose size can reach 25 cm in diameter. These neoplasms inside contain a liquid, and the connective tissue is formed from above with time.

Echinococcus blisters
Echinococcal blisters removed surgically

The bubble has the ability to grow, becoming heavier. Because of its volume and mass, it squeezes the internal organs, provoking the dying of their tissues. If you do not pass the examination in time, do not recognize the presence of bubbles in the body and do not eliminate them, you can face serious disabilities with health and disability.

Indication for the study

Echinococcosis for a long time can not behave itself. A person can pay attention to deviations in health after several months, and sometimes even years. It is advisable to consult a doctor for advice if the following symptoms are found:

Diagnosis of toxocariasis
  • increased fatigue, fatigue and constant weakness;
  • skin rashes in the form of a small rash on any areas of the skin;
  • sudden and unreasonable temperature changes;
  • severe headaches, poorly docked with pain medication;
  • the formation of cysts in the liver, lungs, abdominal cavity, brain, etc.

The results of the survey are deciphered by the surgeon, infectious disease specialist or parasitologist. All tests are performed in immunological laboratories.

Methods of diagnosing the disease

Laboratory diagnosis of echinococcosis is the most reliable, but it has several disadvantages. The incubation period of echinococcosis is from 1.5-2 months, so if you take blood during this period, you can get a false negative result. In the absence of antibodies, it is necessary to undergo a re-examination after 30 days.

A clinical blood test is not a reliable method for diagnosing echinococcosis. The early stage can easily be missed, and the started one can be confused with another acute infectious disease. A reliable and basic method of diagnosis is the study of blood by ELISA, whose task is to find antibodies to parasites.

The analysis of a blood by an ELISA
A blood test for echinococcus is performed using the ELISA method

The coefficient of positivity should not exceed 0-0.84. A negative test result indicates the absence of helminths in the body or the earliest stage of the disease, when antibodies to echinococcus have not yet developed.

Also, a negative result can result from a weak immune response of the body to cysts that are localized in certain places, for example, the brain. A positive result can be observed in individuals with antibodies found in the serum, with a current or transferred disease.

Re-delivery of the test is carried out after a few months and judged on the effectiveness of treatment. Its success is judged by lowering the level of IgG.

Table of decoding results

Indicators Explanation
IgM-IgG- Immunity to echinococcus is not present. There is a risk of primary infection with echinococcosis
IgM-IgG + Immunity is. The risk of primary infection is not present, there is a probability of a secondary exacerbation of the disease, the condition depends on the immune system and is susceptible to methods of prevention
IgM + IgG- Primary infection with echinococcus. It is necessary to undergo treatment. During pregnancy planning it is necessary to observe a delay until the appearance of immunity
IgM + IgG + Secondary exacerbation of the disease. It is necessary to undergo a complete treatment course

Diagnosis of echinococcosis may include other types of examination. To more accurately establish the localization of the tumor can be assigned:

  • CT scan (computer tomography) allows you to study any organs and their systems, diagnose small cysts and determine their exact locations, distinguish parasitic blisters from cancer lesions, measure the density of echinococcal blisters;
  • MRI (magnetic resonance tomogram) is superior to CT. Helps also assess damage after surgery, ritsidiva;
  • X-ray examination, helping to detect cystic lesions in the chest (lungs, muscles, bone tissue). X-rays can also be used to detect calcined masses;
  • Ultrasound is a method of investigation based on ultrasonic waves and helps to find parasitic clusters in any area of ​​the thoracic and abdominal cells, including the heart (echocardiography). In addition, with the help of ultrasound it is possible to control the reaction of echinococcal blisters to the therapy, to fix the rate of their proliferation.

What you need to know before you pass the tests

In case of suspicion of infection with echinococcus, it is indicated to donate blood. It is taken from the ulnar vein with a volume of at least 4 ml. Antibodies to parasites can appear for 30 days, so the coefficient of positivity is not always accurate. Therefore, a month after the blood donation, a repeated diagnostic delivery of the biomaterial will be scheduled.

To ensure that the results of the analyzes are not distorted, it is necessary to adhere to simple rules before conducting a venous blood sampling: biological fluid is taken in the morning on an empty stomach, for an hour before the procedure it is necessary to give up smoking. For 48-36 hours, it is recommended that you refuse to drink alcohol and strong drugs.

Prohibition of bad habits
It is necessary to give up bad habits before giving blood for analysis

But not only the violation of the above rules can distort the indicators. There are other reasons why a false positive reaction can result: infectious and somatic diseases characterized by the destruction of the affected organs (liver cirrhosis, tuberculosis, malignant neoplasms and others), as well as defeat by other worms (trematodes, pork tapeworm).

In addition to the listed pathological conditions, the following factors can influence the results of the analysis:

  • reception of immunosuppressive drugs;
  • taking antitumor drugs that violate the division of all cells in the body, including cancer (cytostatics);
  • radiotherapy;
  • destruction of erythrocytes with release into the environment of hemoglobin (hemolysis);
  • a pathological condition in which there is a large amount of fat microparticles (chiles) in the blood serum.

To correctly establish a diagnosis, it is necessary to take into account not only the results of the tests, but also take into account the patient's living in an unfavorable environment, contact with homeless animals, the use of products of inadequate quality.

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