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Cystic Echinococcosis

This is a tapeworm* that is usually found in dogs, but sheep, cattle, goats and pigs can have it too. Cystic echinococcosis causes harmful cysts* in the liver, lungs, or other organs. These cysts* grow slowly and might not be seen for many years.


How can I get sick?  

  • Eating food or drinking water that has poop with tapeworms* in it (usually from dog poop).  
  • Touching or petting pets that have tapeworms* and not properly washing your hands after. The tapeworm eggs can be spread in the poop from dogs and then can get on their fur.  

Symptoms in humans:  

Most people don’t have symptoms for many years, but slow growing cysts* grow in the liver or lungs. Other symptoms are:  

  • Pain or feeling uncomfortable in the top of your stomach by your chest. 
  • Feeling like you need to throw up 
  • Throwing up 
  • Coughing (from the growing cysts)  

What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Do not drink water that is untreated and might have poop in it.  
  • Don’t let dogs eat dead animals and be aware of the risk when harvesting* sheep or other livestock.  
  • Proper hand washing after touching animals.  
    • Proper Handwashing Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel. 



  • Cysts: A sac that is filled with air, liquid, or pus (a thick yellowish-white liquid that forms in an infected area).
  • Harvesting an animal: The process of removing an animal to be used for meat or fur.
  • Tapeworms: A worm that lives in the intestines of some humans and animals


Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.