Liver fluke is are parasitic worm that stay in the liver infected animals and bile ducts. Diseases such as fascioliasis in animals and people can be obtained from these parasites. They are mostly prevented in developed countries as compared to other parts of the world. Liver fluke in humans happen by drinking water and consuming fish from places where liver flukes stay. Very few scenarios have been reported especially in the US. It is impossible to spread it through contact or any other way that is to say even the people who have them may not realize that they are infected. They could stay in a human body for over 20 to 30 years if they are not treated.
ITS LIFE CYCLE
Flukes have complicated life cycles which is of a medical and veterinary importance.
- These are almost 20-30 mm long and 7-14mm wide. Flukes do contain both the male and female sexual organs and do self-fertilize that is to say they are hermaphroditic.
- They lay up to an average of 19000 eggs per day making them prolific egg layers. In most cases the eggs are oval shaped, operculated at one end thus yellow- brown in color. The eggs are dropped into the bile duct of the host then passed through the gall bladder to the small intestines and later voided with feaces. The egg count can be poor sign of the actual level of infection since they are emptied from the gall bladder. The eggs remain in the system for about one year without hatching. And once in contact with proper temperatures of the environment, each eggs hatches into alarva. This process is called miracidium that occurs between 4-15 days.
- Sporocyst/ Rediae and cercarie. This is an egg type that grows into 5-8 rediae. When fully grown, they escape from the sporocyst. While using a single mouth, the rediae actively migrates through the snail tissues. Large number of offspring’s are produced by the rediae thus called cercarie which in turn migrate out of the snail in an aquatic or watery environment.
- After swimming while using their tadpole like tails, they drop their tails and encyst on vegetation near the surface of the water. This process remains effective for about 6 months.
- The juvenile fluke. The young fluke will move from the liver tissue before entering the bile duct and develop to a reproductive capable adult within 8-10 weeks.
LIVER FLUKE IN HUMANS AND ANIMALS
Liver fluke in humans is what come to our mind after reading all the above well! humans mainly get infected in the following ways;
- Eating fresh water fish that has been infested with the flukes.
- Consumption of fresh vegetables such as watercress
- Taking of contaminated water
- The use of contaminated water to wash vegetables and fruits.
SYMPTOMS AFTER ONE IS INFECTED
A couple of symptoms do exist and because it is hard to notice the infection. This include;
- Abdominal pain .When Liver flukes are in a person’s body, they move from the intestines to the liver. Liver flukes burrow through the lining of the liver so as to enter into the liver. This makes one feel severe pains in the upper right abdomen. After several years, one may get into seasons where the bile ducts are blocked. This lasts according to the severity of the pain.
- Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. In the early stages, this symptoms are noticed where by severe and water diarrhea leaves one in bad shape.
- Loss of weight. Humans do lose a lot of weight in a short time that is to say from like 120kgs to 70kgs thus making one worried since the appetite is low.
- Hives do appear on the body since the immune system often reacts to the liver flukes. This symptom is mainly common in the early stages of the infection as the flukes burrow into the liver.
- Constant fevers are experienced especially when the bile ducts are blocked. This is mainly during the first stages.
- Malaise is a general sense or condition of not feeling well. It is mainly common in the early stages especially the moments when the bile duct is blocked. During this moments, the [pain typically disappears.
POSSIBLE TREATMENT FOR LIVER FLUKE IN HUMANS
Triclabendazole is the type of medication mainly used by doctors to treat the liver fluke since it is hard to detect. This medicine kills the liver flukes and their eggs effectively. Pain relievers and other kinds of drugs may be used to treat certain symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pains. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary where by part of the liver is chopped off once the bile is severely infected. Therefore one has to consult the doctor as soon as possible to avoid such operations.
The Giant Liver Fluke, Fascioloides magna:
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