Echinococcal disease in Alberta, Canada: more than a calcified opacity

BMC Infect Dis. 2005 May 17;5:34. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-5-34.


Background: Most cases of echinococcal disease (ED) acquired in Canada are thought to be due to the sylvatic form of Echinococcus granulosus, which may be more benign than ED due to either Echinococcus multilocularis or the pastoral form of E. granulosus. There are limited descriptions of the clinical course and outcome of Canadian patients with ED in the modern era.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of patients hospitalized with echinococcal disease (ED) from 1991 to 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Results: Forty-two cases of ED were identified of which 19 were definite, 3 probable, and 20 possible. Further analysis was limited to the 22 definite and probable cases, of which 77% were female and 41% aboriginal, with an age range of 5 to 87 years. Nine patients (40%) had pulmonary involvement and 11 (50%) hepatic involvement. One patient had an intracardiac mass presenting as a cerebrovascular event and one had a splenic cyst. Seven of the 22 patients had combined surgical resection and medical treatment, six had surgical resection of the cyst alone, four had cyst aspiration, one had medical treatment alone and four had no specific treatment. There was no mortality attributable to ED but three patients died of unrelated illnesses.

Conclusion: Echinococcal disease in northern Alberta has a marked diversity of clinical presentations, and generally has a good prognosis despite a wide variety of therapeutic interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / epidemiology*
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies