The liver fluke is a parasite which can cause several different types of medical conditions, such that liver fluke symptoms can at times vary from person to person. While there are those who suffer from liver fluke symptoms in the United States and Western Europe, the disorder is much more common in Eastern Europe, South America, and Asia, where millions are affected by the parasite.
The liver fluke may reside in several hosts before attaching itself to a human host. When ingested, it travels through the intestinal tract, eventually ending up in the liver where, over a period of time, it can cause extensive tissue damage. There is another type of fluke parasite which takes up residence in the lungs. Both liver fluke and lung fluke parasites tend to inhabit the same hosts, and those who have the parasite may at times be host to both types. Eating watercress is one of the more common ways of becoming infected with the fluke parasite, but the parasite is also found in cattle and sheep and may be transmitted to humans eating the meat of these animals if it has not been properly cooked. Fluke parasites also are found in water and can be transmitted to humans eating raw fish.
While the parasites themselves cause tissue damage, they are also responsible for several diseases, hence those suffering liver fluke symptoms may be experiencing symptoms for damage caused by the parasites or by disease caused by the parasites. In the case of diseases caused by liver fluke parasites, liver fluke symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, muscle pain, and at times skin rashes and fever.
Many who have the parasite never experience liver fluke symptoms, at least not in the early stages before significant damage to the liver has occurred. Others do, and those who do experience liver fluke symptoms often complain of abdominal pain and fatigue, and may also experience enlargement of the gall bladder. There are actually several species of liver fluke parasites, two of which, O. viverrini and C. sinensis, are believed to be a cause of liver cancer.
Liver Fluke Parasite Infection Can Be Avoided - The best way to prevent liver fluke infestation and infection is by carefully cleaning and peeling vegetables in locations where the parasite is known to exist, and cooking raw meat and fish well so that the parasite, if present, will be killed. Also it's best to steer clear of any water coming from a questionable or unknown source. The liver fluke can be transmitted to a human host who is swimming or bathing in water where it is present. Fortunately, there are pharmaceuticals which offer a cure for liver fluke infections. There are also parasite cleansing agents on the market that may be helpful if one happens to become infected.
Neither the liver fluke parasite, nor the lung fluke parasite, is particularly well known in the United States, as the parasite is not widespread in this region. In addition, North Americans do not generally eat much in the way of water plants such as watercress, nor is raw meat or raw fish commonly consumed. Still, any water source that is thought to be contaminated is best avoided, if for no other reason than contaminated water can bring with it a host of potential problems, above and beyond the possibility of the presence of fluke parasites. If there is a difficulty in treating liver fluke symptoms it is most likely due to the fact that most of the symptoms encountered mimic symptoms of other abdominal diseases and disorders, making diagnosis difficult at times. Liver fluke symptoms, once experienced, can last for months, even during the time when the affected person is undergoing treatment.
Copyright © 2006 Liver Facts.