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Opisthorchis viverrini (also called Asian liver fluke) is a flatworm that can infect the liver, bladder and bileduct in humans. It occurs, as the name suggests, mainly in Asia but also in parts of Europe and is transmitted by eating raw or insufficiently cooked fish (e.g. sushi, smoked or grilled fish). Asian liver fluke often infects the liver and gallbladder and can over time give an increased risk of developing cancer in both organs.
The Asian fluke needs several intermediate hosts to develop from egg to an infectious and adult individual; egg-snail-fish-human. It is therefore not directly contagious between humans but untreated the Asian liver fluke can persist living in the human body for up to 25-30 years!
Symptoms of infection with Asian liver fluke can vary from mild or even unnoticed to severe symptoms with abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, constipation or diarrhea and in the case of infection of the gallbladder you may notice that the stool also becomes light and pale.
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