Hydatidosis, also known as cystic echinococcosis, is an infectious disease transmitted to people from animals, and is caused by a cestode parasite called Echinococcus granulosus.
According to experts at the Instituto Superiore di Sanitá (Italy) and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Spain), hydatidosis is a major public health issue in several regions with high level of livestock farming activity.
This disease is not transmitted among humans, and to complete its life cycle, the parasite must be transmitted between herbivorous animals, especially sheep and canids (mainly dogs).
According to a study published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases, hydatidosis is a rare disease that is transmitted from animals to people, and the specialists´ major concern is that it is neglected, under-diagnosed and under-reported.
Humans are considered accidental hosts, usually infected by consuming the parasite eggs in food or water contaminated with feces of canine origin, or by direct contact with parasitized dogs.
In humans, hydatidosis is a debilitating disease that mainly affects liver and lungs, and is characterized by slow and progressive growth of hydatid cysts, which are responsible for its clinical symptoms.