Flukes Overview of Fluke Infections Flukes are parasitic flatworms. There are many species of flukes. Different species tend to infect different parts of the body. Flukes may infect Blood vessels of digestive or urinary system... read more are parasitic flatworms. There are many species of flukes. Different species tend to infect different parts of the body. Flukes that infect the intestines include
Fasciolopsis buski, which causes fasciolopsiasis
Heterophyes heterophyes, which causes heterophyiasis
(See also Overview of Parasitic Infections Overview of Parasitic Infections A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism (the host) and benefits (for example, by getting nutrients) from the host at the host's expense. Although this definition actually... read more .)
Intestinal fluke infections usually occur in Egypt, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
The life cycle of flukes is complex. People get intestinal fluke infections when they drink contaminated water or eat aquatic plants (such as water chestnuts) or raw, undercooked, or salt-cured freshwater fish that contain cysts that contain fluke larvae.
Usually, intestinal fluke infections cause no or mild symptoms. But if the infection is severe, people may have abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever. Sometimes the flukes prevent foods from being absorbed normally (called malabsorption Overview of Malabsorption Malabsorption syndrome refers to a number of disorders in which nutrients from food are not absorbed properly in the small intestine. Certain disorders, infections, and surgical procedures can... read more ) or block the intestine (called intestinal obstruction Intestinal Obstruction An obstruction of the intestine is a blockage that completely stops or seriously impairs the passage of food, fluid, digestive secretions, and gas through the intestines. The most common causes... read more ).
Doctors diagnose intestinal fluke infections when they see eggs or sometimes adult flukes in a person's stool (feces).
These fluke infections are treated with the medication praziquantel.
See also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on fasciolopsiasis.
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