Fasciolopsiasis

Fasciolopsiasis is an infection caused by the parasite Fasciolopsis burki. It infects the small bowel and symptoms are of bowel obstruction or inflammation with abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting if there are a large number of worms.

Where does it occur?

It occurs in South Central Asia, China, India, and Thailand in pig breeding areas.

How is it transmitted?

The usual animal host for the parasite is pigs. Pigs deposit their feces in bodies of water, the eggs of the parasite hatch and produce larvae. These larvae infect snails which subsequently infect water plants by depositing larvae on their leaves.

Humans contract the larvae by ingestion of contaminated and uncooked fresh water plants like watercress, water chestnuts, and water caltrop.

Is it contagious from person to person?

It is not contagious from person to person.

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk is generally low.

How soon after exposure will I develop symptoms?

Initial symptoms usually develop within 3 months.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Many individual develop no symptoms. When symptoms are present they consist of constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose the illness?

Eggs or flukes can be seen under the microscope in feces. Sometimes worms are seen in vomit.

Is there any treatment?

Praziquantel is the medication of choice.

What preventive measures can be taken?

Avoid eating uncooked water plants.

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