ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Health Implications And General Clinical Overview Of Trematode (Fluke) Infections

Updated on April 1, 2014

The Fluke Parasite


A General Clinical Overview

General characteristics: Trematodes are flat leaf-shaped unsegmented worms which have a long lifespan. Except shcistosomes, all are hermaphrodites. Compared to the other worms, human fluke infection is rare in places like India. The common features are:

  1. Majority of them gain entry through the digestive tract except schistosomes;
  2. Intermediate host is a snail and the infective metacercaria encyst on vegetables or develop in some acquatic animals which are ingested; and
  3. The eggs are operculate except in the case of shcistosomes.

General Lifecycle: Man and other mammals form the definitive hosts. Intermediate hosts are fresh water snails or molluscs. In addition, some have also a second intermediate host such as fresh water fish or a crustacean. The eggs hatch out when liberated into water and give rise to the motile ciliated embryos called miracidium. These penetrate the body of particular species of snails and develop into sporocysts in the liver or lymph spaces. Rediae develop from the sporocysts. The rediae either develop into cercariae or a second generation of rediae. At all stages, asexual multiplication occurs and the number of parasites increases. The cercariae escape from the snails and either encyst as metacercariae over water plants or are taken up by the second intermediate hosts. Infection to man occurs due to ingestion of metacercariae on contaminated vegetables or by eating uncooked fish or crustacea.

The Liver Fluke Infection: Fascioliasis


Fascioliasis (Sheep Liver Fluke)

Fascioliasis is infection by Fasciola hepatica. It is essentially a parasite of cattle and sheep and is world-wide in distribution. Infection among Cattle is not uncommon in developing regions just as human infections.

Morphology, lifecycle and pathogenesis: This fluke measures 3.5 X 1.5cm. The eggs measure 140 X 80um. They are operculate and are passed in feces. The snail vector is Limnaea truncatula. The cercariae encyst on acquatic vegetation. Man gets the infection by eating contaminated watercress. When ingested, the parasites excyst in the intestine and penetrate the wall to enter peritoneal cavity. They enter the liver by piercing the capsule. In the liver, they mature into adults in the bile ducts. Ova appear in feces 3 to 4 months later.

Clinical features: During parasitic invasion, prolonged fever, abdominal pain, tender enlargement of the liver, urticaria and eosinophilia develop. Thereafter, the disease remains latent for months to years. The third stage is one of obstruction of the bile duct leading to jaundice and biliary cirrhosis.

Treatment: Chloroquine is effective as in the case of clonorchiasis. Symptoms are relieved, but the parasites may not be fully eliminated. Bithional, in a dose of 30 to 50 mg/Kg given orally on alternate days for 10 to 15 days is effective. Praxiquantel is being increasingly used in a dose of 25 mg/Kg daily for one or two days.

Heterophyiasis: Can You Notice The Fluke Just On The Lip?



Heterophyes is a small fluke found in large numbers in the small intestine of man, dog, cat and wolf. It is distriubuted widely in the far East and Egypt. In India, it is occasionally seen in visitors or immigrants. The operculated eggs measure 13 to 16 um in size and are passed in feces. They resemble those of Clonorchis sinensis. The snail vector is Pironella conica. The second intermediate hosts are the mullets and other types of fish which are infective when eaten raw or improperly cooked.

Inflammatory reactions occur at the point of attachement to the intestinal mucosa. Heavy infections lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain. Ectopic worms and ova in the heart had been reported. These unusual sites are reached through the blood stream.

Treatment: Tetrachlorethylene 4ml or bephenium hydroxynaphthoate 5g given as a single dose clears the worms in many cases. Piperazine adipate given in a dose of 1.2 to 2.4g/day for 7 days clears the infection in 50% of cases.

© 2014 Funom Theophilus Makama


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)