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Intestinal trematode infections 

Intestinal trematode infections

Intestinal trematode infections

David I. Grove



Recent reviews of food-borne fluke infections of the intestinal tract cited.

Updated on 31 May 2012. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 24 April 2017

Intestinal trematode infections are widespread, but most common in Asia as a reflection of cultural culinary factors.

Echinostomiasis and fasciolopsiasis—infection of the intestines with flukes (flatworms) of the family Echinostomatidae is acquired by the ingestion of undercooked freshwater fish, molluscs, frogs, or vegetation. Heavy infections with these worms (2–20 mm long) may cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea. Fasciolopsis buski is a similar fluke (20–70 mm long), acquired by ingestion of contaminated water plants. Diagnosis is by finding eggs in the stool, but ova of these different species are very difficult to differentiate from each other.

Heterophyiasis (including metagonimiasis)—caused by smaller flukes (1–2 mm long), belonging to the family Heterophyidae. Infection is acquired by ingestion of undercooked freshwater or coastal fish. Heavy infections may cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea. Diagnosis is by finding heterophyid eggs in the stool, but the various species cannot be easily differentiated from each other.

Treatment and prevention—praziquantel is the drug of choice for all of these infections, which can be prevented by thoroughly cooking potentially infected foodstuffs.

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