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Echinococcosis cystic Diagnosis
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Echinococcosis, cystic

Diagnostic methods

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.

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.


Diagnostic strategies

  1. To diagnose an individual case
    Combining imaging techniques with serology is the best strategy today
  2. To assess endemicity in an exposed population
    Serology is the first choice!


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