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Case studies emphasising the difficulties in the diagnosis and management of alveolar echinococcosis in rural China

Author(s): McManus Donald | Li Zhengzhi | Yang Shukun | Gray Darren | Yang Yu

Journal: Parasites & Vectors
ISSN 1756-3305

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 196;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Alveolar echinococcosis | Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region | The People's Republic of China | metastatic lesions in the brain; diagnosis | albendazole treatment

Abstract Background Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the accidental ingestion of the eggs of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. AE occurs frequently in rural western China due to the poor levels of hygiene, the close contact of people with dogs, and the lack of appropriate facilities for the correct and rapid diagnosis of the disease. Findings We describe a case of a patient with hepatic AE, and AE metastases of the brain. She was mistakenly diagnosed with suspected undifferentiated metastatic cancer of the liver and brain, and with a pulmonary bacterial infection, but was subsequently correctly diagnosed during a follow-up field survey for echinococcosis. The diagnosis of brain AE was confirmed by pathological examination of tissue biopsies removed during neurosurgery. We also briefly describe other symptomatic and asymptomatic AE cases, identified by chance, likely due to the inadequate facilities available in rural communities in China for AE diagnosis and management, since the rapid and accurate diagnosis of metastatic AE requires a high level of expertise in the appropriate diagnostic procedures. Conclusions This report highlights the necessity for an upgrade in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of AE in rural China.
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