Clonorchiasis (Oriental Liver Fluke Disease)

Clonorchiasis is a parasitic disease of the bile ducts caused by the parasite Clonorchis sinensis. This is a parasite that infects fresh water fish and human contract it from eating raw and undercooked fresh water fish.

Where does it occur?

It occurs in China, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia and Laos.

How is it transmitted?

It is transmitted by the ingestion of raw or undercooked fresh water fish.

Is it contagious from person to person?

No

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk is generally low unless eating raw or undercooked fish.

How soon after exposure will I develop symptoms?

One begins to develop symptoms 4-8 weeks after exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms are of abdominal pain, loss of appetite and jaundice when the bile duct is obstructed. Chronic low grade infection can result in enlargement of liver with cirrhosis with symptoms of weight loss, abdominal distention, pain, easy bruising, and jaundice.

It can also after years of untreated infection result in cancer of the bile ducts with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, jaundice and abdominal pain.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose the illness?

One can see eggs of the parasite in feces or gastric fluid. Antibody tests are also available.

Is there any treatment?

Antibiotic called Praziquantel is effective in treatment.

What preventive measures can be taken?

Avoid eating raw or undercooked freshwater fish.

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