Fasciolopsiasis (Fasciolopsis Infection)
Fasciolopsiasis is an infectious disease that is caused by the trematode known as Fasciolopsis buski, the largest intestinal flatworm found in humans. The fasciolopsis buski can be found in India and Asia, particularly in areas with pig farming and areas that favor consumption of plants grown in fresh water sources.
While most cases of Fasciolopsiasis are asymptomatic or very short lasting, severe infections can cause intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain, ascites, fever, diarrhea, and anasarca. Diagnosis of Fasciolopsiasis requires microscopy to identify the eggs of the flatworm. Stool samples can also be used or vomitus. The eggs are identical to those of the Fasciola hepatica and may require further testing. Treatment for Fasciolopsiasis requires the prescription medications Praziquantel as the preferred choice.
The life cycle of the trematode begins as eggs that discharge into the intestine and the stool. In water, the eggs are embryonated so that they release miracidia. The miracidia enter an appropriate snail. The snail acts as an intermediate host and inside it, the parasitic worm develop into cercariae. At this stage, they are released onto aquatic plants and encyst, becoming metacercariae.
Mammals consume the metacercariae on the aquatic plants and become hosts. Once the metacercariae are ingested, they excyst in the duodenum, attaching to the walls of the intestine. In the intestine, they mature into adult flatworms and can grow up to 75mm by 20mm in size. It takes up to three months for full maturation to occur in the intestines. Humans and pigs are ideal mammal hosts. The adult form of the fluke live for about a year.