February 4, 2010
February 4 - Fasciolopsis buski
Trematodes, or flukes, usually have complex life cycles involving multiple hosts, one of which is a snail. The giant liver fluke, Fasciolopsis buski, is a common parasite in southeastern Asia, including India and China. Eggs are released in feces where they excyst as miracidia, which infect snails. Further development occurs in the snails, until cercariae leave the snail, transform into metacercariae and attach themselves to water plants such as water chestnuts. Humans (and pigs) become infected if they eat unwashed/uncooked plants. Despite the fact that they are called “giant liver flukes”, they are only about 3 inches long. But, that’s long enough if you’ve got one (or more!) attached to your small intestine.