Liver Flukes is one of the parasites to watch out for. Because, if infected, the parasite can cause liver and bile duct diseases. Liver worm infection in humans usually occurs after consuming certain foods that have been contaminated with worms and are not cooked until cooked. Find out more about What Are Liver Flukes: Is it dangerous? Treatment and How to Spot Symptoms.
What Are Liver Flukes?
Liver worms are parasitic worms that can infect humans. This usually happens after eating contaminated freshwater, raw or semi-cooked watercress. After the liver worms are ingested, they travel from the intestines to the bile ducts in the liver. They then lived and grew up there.
Types of Liver Flukes
There are two types of liver worms that can cause disease in humans, namely:
There are two species of opisthorchiidae worms that can cause liver worm infection, namely Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini. Both species of liver worms are most commonly found in seafood, such as fish, crabs, and lobsters. You can become infected with opisthorchiidae when consuming seafood that has been contaminated by worm larvae that are not cooked until cooked.
This type of liver worm can infect human organs of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. If left untreated, the infection can last up to 25-30 years.
It is the most common type of liver worm infecting the human body. Fasciolidae worms can be found on almost all continents, except Antarctica. You can get infected with fasciolidae liver worms if you consume watercress or other aquatic plants that have been contaminated with worm larvae from animal feces.
How to Spot Symptoms of Liver Flukes?
A person who has a liver worm infection generally does not feel any symptoms. Symptoms can appear when the infection is long-standing and cause serious illness.
The symptoms that may appear in the short term are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite to weight loss
Over time, adult liver worms blocking the bile ducts can cause yellow skin and whites, the appearance of scarring, and bacterial infections of the bile ducts. These worms are even capable of infecting the intestinal wall, lungs, skin, or throat.
How does a Liver Flukes get into the human body?
Liver worms enter the human body through contaminated raw or semi-cooked water and food. Foods that risk carrying liver worms when not cooked properly are generally seafood, such as shrimp, shellfish, fish, and crab.
Once the liver worm enters the body, it will move from the intestines to the bile ducts in the liver, where these parasites live and grow.
Although rare, liver worm infections can cause rare complications that harm the sufferer, such as recurrent infections of the bile system, the formation of gallstones, and bile duct cancer.
What is the life cycle of Liver Flukes?
Adult parasites settle in small bile ducts and can live for 20 to 30 years. Chronic and prolonged inflammation of the bile canals by long-term worms can lead to more problems.
Four to six months after they settle in the bile ducts, adult worms begin to produce eggs, which will then be excreted through the intestines.
Are liver flukes dangerous?
Liver worms are common in some parts of the world. People from any area, of course, have a risk of infection. For anyone who has recently had a history of eating raw fish, half-cooked, or watercress especially when in certain areas should be tested regularly.
Although liver worm infections are unlikely to be transmitted from human to human, family members are more at risk of infection simply for eating the same food.
How to treat Liver Flukes?
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will conduct a question and answer about the complaints experienced, medical history, patient hygiene, and conduct a physical examination. In addition, doctors also require several supporting examinations, such as:
- Examination of stool samples, to see the presence of liver worm eggs in the stool
- To check for antibodies against liverworms, complete blood test
- Radiology examination, to check for damage to the liver and bile ducts associated with liver worms
After the diagnosis is determined, the doctor can then perform the following treatments:
Prescribing drugs tailored to the type of liver worm infection. The purpose of treatment is focused on removing liver worms from the body. Some of the liver worm infection drugs commonly prescribed by doctors are:
- Triclabendazole, for infection fascioliasis.
- Praziquantel or albendazole, for clonorchiasis infection.
- Corticosteroids for patients with severe symptoms.
Surgical procedures are sometimes required when liver worms block the bile ducts or patients experience a variety of long-term complications, such as bile duct infections or bile duct cancer.
Liver worm infections start from a less hygienic lifestyle. Although liver worms are a simple cause, they can also be dangerous and complicated. Therefore, it would be nice if liver worm infection could be prevented from the beginning.
As a preventive measure of liver worm infection, the important thing you need to remember is to make sure all the food to be consumed is cooked thoroughly, especially for freshwater fish, crabs, shrimp, and watercress. In addition, avoid drinking river water or water with poor sanitation conditions.
If you experience some symptoms of liver worm infection, especially after previously consuming fish or watercress cooked immaturely, you should immediately check with a doctor to get the right treatment.
How to prevent the occurrence of Liver Flukes infection?
It is important to know that liver worm infections can be easily prevented. Ensuring freshwater fish and watercress are cooked thoroughly before consumption is the most effective way to prevent liver worm infections.
People traveling to areas with poor sanitation should certainly avoid potentially contaminated food and water parasites. Because there is no vaccine currently available to treat liver worm infections, this is a problem.
Tips to Prevent Liver Flukes Infection
One effective way to prevent helminthic diseases is to maintain personal and environmental hygiene. In addition, several other steps can be taken to prevent helminthic diseases, namely:
- Store the raw meat and fish well, then cook until cooked.
- Wash fruits and vegetables properly before consumption.
- Consume enough vitamins. Before that, you need to know about Swansons Vitamins and Supplements.
- Change underwear and bed linen every day during infection.
- Wash nightwear, bed linen, underwear, and towels with hot water to eradicate worm eggs.
- Avoid scratching the area around the itchy anus. Nail clippers so that there is no place for worm eggs. Don’t bite your nails.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after urinating, changing baby diapers, before cooking, and before eating.
- Avoid walking barefoot or touching the ground, sand, or other surfaces without gloves.
Helminthic diseases should not be underestimated. If you or a family member experiences symptoms of helminthic disease, consult a doctor on how to properly treat it.