The adult worms, 2-7.5 cm (0.8-3 inches) long, attach themselves to the tissues of the small intestine of the host by means of ventral suckers; the sites of attachment may later ulcerate and form abscesses. In the early stage of the infection, there is usually abdominal pain, as well as diarrhea and nausea alternating with constipation. Heavy infestations that go untreated cause general body weakness and fluid retention, which may have serious consequences, especially in children.
Life Cycle Diagram (Courtesy of the DPD)
Immature eggs are discharged into the intestine and stool . Eggs become embryonated in water , eggs release miracidia , which invade a suitable snail intermediate host . In the snail the organisms undergo several developmental stages (sporocysts , rediae , and cercariae ). The cercariae are released from the snail and encyst as metacercariae on aquatic plants . The mammalian hosts become infected by ingesting metacercariae on the aquatic plants. After ingestion, the metacercariae excyst in the duodenum and attach to the intestinal wall. There they develop into adult flukes (20 to 75 mm by 8 to 20 mm) in approximately 3 months, attached to the intestinal wall of the mammalian hosts (humans and pigs) . The adults have a life span of about one year.
Adult fluke of Fasciolopsis buski.
The adult flukes range in size: 20 to 75 mm by 8 to 20 mm.
Measuring up to 75 mm in length,
it is one of the largest trematodes found in humans.
Dr. Ross Andersen, N.D.
References and additional information:
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Ohio State University, Biological Sciences
- Skye Weintraub, ND "The Parasite Menace""; Woodland Publishing 2000
- Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS "Guess What Came To Dinner?"; Avery 2001
- Valerie Saxion "Everybody Has Parasites"; Bronze Bow Publishing 2003
- Skye Weintraub "The Parasite Menace"; March 1998
- Roger M. Knutson "Fearsome Fauna: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Live in You"
- Carl Zimmer "Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures"
- Paavo Airola, ND, PhD "How To Get Well"; Health Plus Publishers
- Nicholas Culpepper "Culpepper's Complete Herbal"; Omega 1985
- Penny C. Royal "Herbally Yours"; Sound Nutrition 1982
- James F. Balch, MD "Prescription For Nutritional Healing"; Sound Nutrition 1997
- Alma R. Hutchens "Indian Herbology of North America"; Merco 1973
- Discover Magazine; August 2000 Edition