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Opisthorchiasis
Essentials

Asian liver fluke infection

Opisthorchis viverrini, O. felineus

 

Opisthorchiasis is caused by small liver flukes of cats and other fish-eating animals. The medically most important species are Opisthorchis viverrini and O. felineus. The adult flukes (length up to 1 cm) live in the biliary ducts

 

Life cycle of Opisthorchis spp.

 

The life cycle of Opisthorchis is similar to that of Clonorchis sinensis. Eggs are passed in the faeces of the final host and when miracidia have developed, eggs hatch and motile miracidia infect the first intermediate host, special water snails. In the snail, a further development and multiplication takes place. Cercariae leave the snail and percutaneously infect various freshwater fish which serve as second intermediate hosts. Parasites encyst and form metacercariae.
When the fish is eaten by carnivores (humans, dogs, cats), the young flukes emerge and can pass up the common bile ducts, finally reaching the biliary tree, where they mature.

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