Tulane University International Center for Medical Research, Division of Animal Medicine, SB-42, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Department of Pathology, Division of Health, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia
Three cases of polycystic hydatid disease (PHD) from Colombia are reported and 11 others from the region are reviewed. When cysts from two patients were fed to a dog and an ocelot about 250 mature and gravid specimens of Echinococcus vogeli and two poorly developed strobilae, respectively, were recovered. These human cases constitute the first record of the larval stage of E. volgeli, previously known only from the strobilar stage in the type host, the bush dog (Speothos venaticus). Based on the morphological characteristics of the protoscolex rostellar hooks from other PHD cases (6 Colombian, 1 Ecuadorian, and 1 Panamanian), it was concluded that all were also due to E. vogeli, rather than to E. oligarthrus as had been previously suggested. Although E. oligarthrus is or may be present in the same areas, so far no human infection due to this parasite has been confirmed. Of the 14 cases reported, 13 were pathologically proven to be PHD. Clinically, eight had an undiagnosed tumor-like mass in or near the liver, one had a subcutaneous mass in the anterior sixth intercostal space, and in two the cysts were in the chest. Two were autopsy findings. In contrast to E. multilocularis, the cysts produced by E. vogeli were found to be relatively large and filled with fluid; brood capsules and protoscolices were numerous. Focal necrosis was commonly observed but large necrotic cavities were not seen. The main natural intermediate host is the paca (Cuniculus paca); man probably obtains the infection by contamination from feces of infected hunting dogs.