Korean J Radiol.  2011 Jun;12(3):269-279. 10.3348/kjr.2011.12.3.269.

Liver Flukes: the Malady Neglected

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Radiology and Center for Imaging Science, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul 135-710, Korea. jhlim@smc.samsung.co.kr

Abstract

Liver fluke disease is a chronic parasitic inflammatory disease of the bile ducts. Infection occurs through ingestion of fluke-infested, fresh-water raw fish. The most well-known species that cause human infection are Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini and Opisthorchis felineus. Adult flukes settle in the small intrahepatic bile ducts and then they live there for 20-30 years. The long-lived flukes cause long-lasting chronic inflammation of the bile ducts and this produces epithelial hyperplasia, periductal fibrosis and bile duct dilatation. The vast majority of patients are asymptomatic, but the patients with heavy infection suffer from lassitude and nonspecific abdominal complaints. The complications are stone formation, recurrent pyogenic cholangitis and cholangiocarcinoma. Approximately 35 million people are infected with liver flukes throughout the world and the exceptionally high incidence of cholangiocarcinoma in some endemic areas is closely related with a high prevalence of liver fluke infection. Considering the impact of this food-borne malady on public health and the severe possible clinical consequences, liver fluke infection should not be forgotten or neglected.

Keyword

Liver flukes; Clonorchiasis; Opisthorchiasis; Cholangiocarcinoma; Foodborne parasite; Cholangiocarinogenesis

MeSH Terms

Animals
Bile Duct Neoplasms/*diagnosis/epidemiology/*parasitology
Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic/*parasitology
Biological Markers/analysis
Cholangiocarcinoma/*diagnosis/epidemiology/*parasitology
Cholangitis/diagnosis/parasitology
Clonorchiasis/*complications/*diagnosis/epidemiology/parasitology
Clonorchis sinensis
Humans
Incidence
Opisthorchiasis/*complications/*diagnosis/epidemiology/parasitology
Opisthorchis
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