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Letter to the Editor

Rapid onsite cytologic evaluation and diagnosis of hydatidosis from soft-tissue swelling in neck on unstained wet mount preparation

Department of Pathology, S N Medical College, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Department of Pathology, Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough, London, United Kingdom
Department of Pathology, Muzaffarnagar Medical College, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
Corresponding author: Anupam Varshney, Department of Pathology, Muzaffarnagar Medical College, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

How to cite this article: Rani D, Gupta A, Varshney A, Gupta A. Rapid onsite cytologic evaluation and diagnosis of hydatidosis from soft-tissue swelling in neck on unstained wet mount preparation. CytoJournal 2020;17:27.

Dear Editor,

Hydatid disease (HD) is an infection caused by larval forms of tapeworm, Echinococcus species, for which dogs are definite hosts whereas humans are intermediate hosts.[1] It is more common in Asia, Australia, South America, Greece, Middle East, and Southern Europe.[2] Primary hydatid cyst in soft tissue and muscle, without involvement of liver or lungs, is very rare.[3] The cyst wall consists of an outer, thick laminated membrane, and an inner, thin, nucleated germinal layer. Protoscolices are usually produced singly into the lumen of bladder or also within the brood capsule, each having 10–30 protoscolices.[4]

Cytology plays an important role in the diagnosis of hydatidosis. Diagnosis is mainly based on demonstrating scolices, hooklets, and laminated membrane, which is very well described in the literature. Herein, we report a case of HD diagnosed on examination of unstained wet mount preparation, presenting as a solitary subcutaneous swelling in the neck. This is a rare occurrence in the absence of visceral involvement.

A 22-year-old female presented with a painless, cystic swelling in the neck for the past 4 months. On examination, a well-defined cystic swelling measuring 1 × 1 cm was noted in the upper neck region. Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) yielded few drops of clear fluid along with whitish granular material. Air-dried smears were prepared for Giemsa staining. A wet mount preparation was also evaluated microscopically. It revealed scolex with hooklets [Figure 1a]. Thereafter, smears were stained with Giemsa, which showed numerous protoscolices along with hooklets and acellular laminated membrane [Figure 1b and c].

Figure 1:
(a) Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) smear showing scolex (wet preparation × 400) and hooklets (Inset, Giemsa stain × 400). (b) FNA smear showing laminated membrane (Giemsa stain × 400). (c) FNA smear showing four scolex and hooklets (arrowed) (Giemsa stain × 400).

Hydatid cyst presenting as a neck swelling is a rarity. Hence, FNA of neck swelling harboring hydatid cyst is unintentional, as in this case. Aspiration may lead to anaphylactic reaction due to spillage of the hydatid fluid. The mechanism of these reactions is complex. In some cases, it is typically a hypersensitivity reaction type I associated with immunoglobulin E in response of a high plasma concentration of antigens Echinococcus.[5] Anaphylactic or anaphylactoid reactions may also be secondary to complement activation with liberation of anaphylatoxins.[6] Fortunately, no such reaction occurred in this case. The purpose of this report is to document identification of the scolex and hooklets from a hydatid cyst on unstained wet mount preparation.


There are no conflicts of interest.


This manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors and represents honest work.


As this is case without identifiers, our institution does not require approval from the Institutional Review Board (or its equivalent).


FNA: Fine-needle aspiration

HD: Hydatid disease


To ensure the integrity and highest quality of CytoJournal publications, the review process of this manuscript was conducted under a double-blind model (the authors are blinded for reviewers and vice versa) through automatic online system.


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