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FLATWORM BLOOD FLUKE (parasite infecting humans, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma japonicum)

 

Flatworm blood fluke

Flukes are flatworms from a few millimetres to 2.5 cm in length (one inch) that tend to live in tissues other than the lumen of the digestive tract. The most common human parasitic flukes are liver, blood and lung flukes. Around 200 million people are infected with blood flukes of which some 20 million are severely ill and many more just show symptoms. The impact of flukes can play havoc with economic development, especially in tropical developing countries. Schistosomiasis is at present the world's second most prevalent infectious disease, second only to malaria. The Schistosoma flatworm is responsible for the second most common parasitic infection of humans known as bilharzia.

Liver fluke infections have been reported in Europe and the United States, as well as the Middle East, China, Japan and Africa. Lung fluke infections are common in the Far East, South-east Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands.

There are several types of fluke - blood flukes, liver flukes, oriental lung flukes, sheep liver flukes, intestinal flukes, tissue flukes, zoonotic flukes, lancet flukes and a host of others. The differences vary in where and how a person has been infected and where and how they will damage the system internally.

Liver, oriental lung, sheep liver, and intestinal flukes are transmitted via food; blood flukes are transmitted in swimming or bathing water. If living in the UK, Europe, North America or Canada it is likely that any fluke contamination  will have been picked up on holiday in somewhere tropical. Areas such as Africa (especially Egypt), South America, the Caribbean and China are worst affected. They can also be brought right to the table in food imported from abroad.

They have complex life cycles whereby eggs are passed through urine or faeces into fresh water, where the larva must pass though an intermediate snail host before a larval stage emerges that can infect a mammalian host by directly penetrating the skin.

The parasite causes inflammation (swelling) and damage to organs, particularly the liver. The adult worms can persist in their human host for decades, and may not cause any symptoms for years. They leave the host in faeces and spend part of their lifecycle in a snail host.

Flatworms are, as the name suggests, flat. This lack of significant depth to their body allows for direct nutrient absorption and means that they do not require a digestive system and only possess a rudimentary circulatory system.

They are contracted by eating raw or undercooked fish, animals or plants from fluke-infected fresh water. Eggs from an infected host, such as a sheep are deposited in water via the faeces and these then infect snails which in turn produce cysts which are deposited on vegetation growing in fresh water. When a human eats the infected vegetation, the cysts break open and the flukes enter the liver, lungs or, in the case of the blood flukes, attach to the intestinal blood vessels where they cause inflammation and destroy tissue.

Symptoms of flatworm blood fluke infection

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Nausea

  • Weight loss

  • Characteristic "rotten-egg" tasting burps.

Natural treatment for flatworm blood fluke infection

NOTE: Do not consume the cat's claw herb as the flatworms thrive in the environment created

See more natural cures for parasites and worms

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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