Fasciola hepatica the large liver fluke (3-7 cm long and about 1.5 cm wide) occur on all continents world wide including Europe but are more commonly found in Central- and South America, Asia and Africa. Infections occur mainly through the ingestion of contaminated plants infected through the use of fertilization or when we eat insufficiently cooked (raw) beef.
Liver flukes are a parasite that can mainly be found in cattle and sheep as well as transmitted to humans. A full-grown liver fluke can lay up to 20,000 eggs per day, the eggs that end up in the bile eventually leave with the feces which are then released into fresh water (watercourses and lakes).
Liver flukes can cause a skin rash, gallstone-like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, cough and can cause extensive liver damage. The diagnosis is made by detected eggs in the stool or detected antibodies in the blood. It is worth noting that Fasciola species have the potential to spread from the intestine into other tissues leading to severe symptoms.
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