Fast Focus Ultrasound Liver Technique for the Assessment of Cystic Echinococcosis in Sheep

Animals (Basel). 2021 Feb 9;11(2):452. doi: 10.3390/ani11020452.


A complete ultrasound examination (cUS) of the liver was performed on 172 female sheep and compared to the performance of a fast-focused ultrasound technique to diagnose echinococcal cysts. The scanned area was divided in: HYP (right hypocondrium), zone (Z)1 from HYP to the 11th intercostal space (IS), Z2 (10th-8th IS) and Z3 (7th-5th IS). Contiguous scans were also examined (HYP + Z1, Z1 + Z2, Z2 + Z3). Furthermore, during the procedures, the sheep were divided into three groups according to the body weight: Group (G) 1 (lighter), G2 (medium), and G3 (heavier). Finally, diagnostic outcomes were compared with necropsy findings. cUS obtained the highest values of sensitivity (Se) (91%), Specificity (Sp) (80%), and positive-zones (124/138, 90%), as compared to the other scans. cUS was also characterized by high values of Se and Sp and was able to identify a great number of positive-zones, when sheep were divided by body-weight groups. Similar performances were obtained in G1 by HYP (Se: 91%-Sp: 82%; 18/20, 90% of positive-zones) and HYP + Z1 scans (Se: 91%-Sp: 82; 90% of positive-zones, 18/20). Thus, in lighter breeds, the examination of HYP and HYP + Z1 scan windows could be considered reliable techniques for identifying the infected animals, while in heavier sheep the cUS still represents the best option.

Keywords: Echinococcus granulosus; cyst; hydatidosis; one health; ultrasonography; zoonosis.