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Echinococcosis, cystic
Diagnostic Methods
Diagnostic methodsPros and cons
Parasitological diagnosis 
Parasitological diagnosis is only possible by detecting scolices, daughter cysts or hooklets (“hydatid sand”) in the sediment of the hydatid fluid.
Clinical diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms of slow-growing tumours and history of residence in endemic areas, along with association with canines (e.g. in connection with slaughterhouses).
Radiology, CT and sonography along with serologic tests are useful for the diagnosis of hydatid disease caused by Echinococcus granulosus.
 
Molecular diagnosis 
PCR with excellent sensitivity and specificity is used to detect parasite nucleic acids in needle aspirates or to detect copro-antigens in dogs.
  • Demand on reagents and equipment
Antigen detection 
Several home-made tests detect copro-antigens in the faeces of definitive hosts by ELISA and specific monoclonal antibodies. One test kit is commercially available. 
Antibody detection 
Serology is an important diagnostic element for detecting hydatid disease. Various test formats (IFA, ELISAs, Western blots) have been developed to detect specific antibodies.
Using an affinity-purified or recombinant antigen (e.g. Em18) a differential diagnosis between the two species seems possible.
  • High sensitivity
  • Moderate specificity if undefined antigens are used