Fasciolopsiasis is an infectious disease that is caused by the trematode known as Fasciolopsis buski, the largest intestinal flatworm found in humans. The life cycle of the trematode begins as eggs that discharge into the intestine and the stool. In water, the eggs are embryonated so that they release miracidia. The miracidia enter an appropriate snail. The snail acts as an intermediate host and inside it, the parasitic worm develop into cercariae. At this stage, they are released onto aquatic plants and encyst, becoming metacercariae.
Mammals consume the metacercariae on the aquatic plants and become hosts. Once the metacercariae are ingested, they excyst in the duodenum, attaching to the walls of the intestine. In the intestine, they mature into adult flatworms and can grow up to 75mm by 20mm in size. It takes up to three months for full maturation to occur in the intestines. Humans and pigs are ideal mammal hosts.
Diagnosis of Fasciolopsiasis requires microscopy to identify the eggs of the flatworm. Stool samples can also be used or vomitus.
Treatment for Fasciolopsiasis requires the prescription medications Praziquantel as the preferred choice.
Infections occur most often in school-age children or in impoverished areas with a lack of proper sanitation systems. The high incidence of infection was prevalent in females and children ages 10–14 years of age.