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Intestinal trematode infections 

Intestinal trematode infections
Chapter:
Intestinal trematode infections
Author(s):

Alastair McGregor

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0185
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date: 07 March 2021

It is notoriously difficult to estimate the prevalence of intestinal trematode infection, but the most widely accepted figures suggest that 40–50 million people worldwide are infected with at least one of these organisms. Most of these infections are found in tropical South and East Asia, mostly as a result of local culinary practice. The most important intestinal flukes are Fasciolopsis buski and members of the families Echinostomatidae and Heterophyidae. Infection is acquired through the ingestion of the second intermediate host—undercooked freshwater fish, molluscs, frogs, or vegetation contaminated with live metacercariae. Fasciolopsis buski, one of the largest (at 20–77 mm) and most important flukes, is acquired by ingestion of contaminated water plants. Heavy infections may cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea, but most infections are entirely asymptomatic. 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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