Fasciolopsiasis is a disease caused by the largest intestinal fluke, Fasciolopsis buski. The disease is endemic in the Far East and Southeast Asia. Human acquires the infection after eating raw freshwater plants contaminated with the infective metacercariae. The intestinal fluke Fasciolopsis buski, which causes faciolopsiasis, is the largest intestinal fluke of humans. Fasciolopsiasis can be prevented by cooking aquatic plants well before eating them. Fasciolopsis is found in south and southeastern Asia. Fasciolopsiasis is treatable.
Many people do not have symptoms from Fasciolopsis infection. However, abdominal pain and diarrhea can occur 1 or 2 months after infection. With heavy infections Fasciolopsis flukes can cause intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Praziquantel is the drug of choice for treatment. Treatment is effective in early or light infections. Heavy infections are more difficult to treat. Studies of the effectiveness of various drugs for treatment of children with F. buski have shown tetrachloroethylene as capable of reducing faecal egg counts by up to 99%. Other anthelmintics that can be used includethiabendazole, mebendazole, levamisole and pyrantel pamoate,oxyclozanide, hexachlorophene and nitroxynil are also highly effective.
Fasciolopsiasis remains a public health problem despite changes in eating habits, alterations in social and agricultural practices, health education, industrialization, and environmental alterations. The disease occurs focally and is most prevalent in school-age children. In foci of parasite transmission, the prevalence of infection in children ranges from 57% in mainland China to 25% in Ireland and from 50% in Bangladesh and 60% in India to 10% in Thailand. Control programs implemented for food-borne zoonoses are not fully successful for fasciolopsiasis because of century-old traditions of eating raw aquatic plants and using untreated water. Fasciolopsiasis is aggravated by social and economic factors such as poverty, malnutrition, an explosively growing free-food market, a lack of sufficient food inspection and sanitation, other helminthiases, and declining economic conditions.