Case Report: A Unique Case Of Cystic Echinococcosis in a Sahiwal Cow in Narok County, Kenya.

  • JA Omega
  • PK Koskei


A three and a half year old pregnant Sahiwal cow born and reared just outside the Maasai Mara National Game Reserve in Narok County, Kenya was noticed to walk slowly, cough occasionally and resist exercise or excitement. A clinical examination revealed a fast (60/min), laboured, shallow and voluntary respiration, a high pulse (104/min) and a rectal temperature of 39.1oC. It calved down normally and unaided to a healthy calf while recumbent and could not rise up thereafter. The dam died 30 hours post-partum despite treatment for hypocalcaemia and antibiotic cover. Post-mortem examination revealed extensive affection of the liver, lungs, spleen and kidneys with Echinococcus cysts of the cestode, Echinococcus granulosus. A total of 442 hydatid cysts were counted, with the liver having 225, the lungs 199, the spleen 11 and the kidneys 7 cysts. The cysts had volumes ranging from 1.3cm3 to 346.8cm3, with an average volume of 32.0cm3. The proportion of functional liver left was 28.8%, while that of the lungs was 46.5%, the spleen 26.0% and the kidneys 89.2%. A total of 47 (10.8%) hydatid cysts were found to be fertile of which 35 (74.5%) were viable. None were found calcified or even undergoing calcification. The local community (Maasai) confessed that they throw hydatid cyst-infested organs to their dogs as they are believed them to be full of salt. Wild carnivorous animals were observed feeding on the infested left overs from the cow. It is rare to find hydatid cysts in the four organs of one bovine and there is no record of a single bovine having more than 442 cysts. No animal has also been recorded to carry out a pregnancy to full term and give birth unaided with only 28.8% of its liver and less than 46.5% of the lungs functional. Domestic dogs and wild carnivorous animals feeding on the highly infested organs with high fertility and viability rates perpetuate the parasite and the close association the Maasai community have with the domestic and wild carnivores increases the risk to human infection.