December 14, 2010
December 14 - Fasciola hepatica
This parasite can be baaaaad, to sheep - and to humans. Fasciola hepatica, or the common liver fluke, is a trematode parasite with a typical complex life cycle like so many that we have seen here before, involving snails that are common around pastures. Metacercariae are ingested by grazing animals and then they seek out liver tissue and feed for a month or two, causing anemia and other symptoms in the animal. Eventually, they mature into adults and settle down in the bile ducts and just churn out eggs - about half a million a day! Humans can become infected with this parasite through accidental ingestion of the metacercariae in water, on water plants, through contact with livestock and perhaps from ingesting raw liver from infected animals.