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Fasciolopsiasis

by Richard D. Pearson, MD

Fasciolopsiasis is infection with the intestinal fluke Fasciolopsis buski, which is acquired by eating aquatic plants.

F. buski is present in the intestine of pigs in many parts of Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Human infection is acquired by eating aquatic plants (eg, water chestnuts) that bear infectious metacercariae (encysted stage). Adult worms attach to and ulcerate the mucosa of the proximal small bowel. They grow to about 20 to 75 mm by 8 to 20 mm. Adults have a life span of about 1 yr.

Most infections are light and asymptomatic, but heavy infections may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and signs of malabsorption or intestinal obstruction.

Diagnosis is made by finding eggs or, less commonly, adults in the feces. The eggs are indistinguishable from those of Fasciola hepatica .

Treatment is with praziquantel 25 mg/kg po once (WHO) or tid for 1 day (Medical Letter).

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