What is alveolar echinococcosis, the deadly disease that has appeared in Canada?


In addition to the coronavirus, other diseases are emerging in the world that are being reviewed by the scientific community. Now they have found a deadly disease in Canada, the alveolar echinococcosis, and it seems that the number of cases is increasing. What is known so far?

This medical condition is based on a life-threatening disease that develops from presence of a parasite in the liver and that causes serious health problems.

According to Medline Plus, it is an infection caused by the worm Echinococcus granulosus or Echinococcus multilocularis, and it appears to occur when humans become infected when they swallow the worm’s eggs through contaminated food. The eggs subsequently form cysts within the body. A cyst is a closed bag or sac. The cyst continues to grow and causes symptoms.

Thus this infection is caused by worms found in dogs, cats, rodents, and foxes. These worms are between 1 and 4 mm long and their condition can be fatal, because tumor-like growths form in the liver.

Alert in Canada

It appears that the cases of this disease have increased within the Canadian region of Alberta. The experts commented that the origin of this parasite is in Europe and that it is a strange disease in humans, because as we have seen it is more common among animals.

In total, according to agencies, in this region there are 17 diagnosed cases of alveolar echinococcosis between the years 2013 and 2020. Experts report that these cases originate in Europe and initially they started with animals. It is believed that they could be dogs that came to this region.

Thus, this disease is based on an initial asymptomatic incubation period of many years followed by a chronic course in which the clinical manifestations include epigastric pain and jaundice.

Where is this disease most common?

Medline Plus names that the echinococcus is common in the African, Central Asian, Southern South American, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern regions. While in the United States, this disease is very rare, but in addition to Canada, it has been detected in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah in other years.

It especially attacks cattle, it is in the feces of dogs, foxes or coyotes, in pigs, sheep and camels.

If transmission is increasing, it could be a disease transmitted from animals to humans as could have happened with the coronavirus and other diseases that are now being closely followed.

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