This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This is a disease in which cysts are formed in the liver, being developed from the echinococcus. The origin of these cysts is very curious. Eggs from the tape-worm from the common dog find entrance to the stomach through the food or drink, being developed into minute embryos which find their way into the liver, there forming the cysts which are characteristic of this disease. The dropsical enlargement becomes so great as to cause inconvenience to the patient. Death sometimes occurs from rupture of the cyst and discharge of its contents into the abdominal cavity, chest, veins, or some other internal part. In Iceland the disease is so very common that it is said to be the cause of at least one-seventh of the whole number of deaths.
The only measure of treatment of any value is removal of the fluid by means of the aspirator. It has been found that if one-half or two-thirds of the fluid be removed, the disease will disappear in a majority of cases. Electricity has also been used with success in the treatment of cases of this kind.