Fluke Or Trematode Infections
Many flukes can infect the human body, but only one spends considerable time in the intestine. The disease it causes is called fasciolopsiasis. The fluke's eggs are passed out in the feces and hatch in water. The first stage of development takes place in the bodies of snails. Then the partially developed parasites encyst upon water plants - caltrops, water chestnuts, water hyacinths. If these are eaten raw, the parasites mature in the eater's intestine. They usually attach themselves to the lining of the duodenum or the jejunum, causing inflammation and sometimes ulceration and bleeding. Diarrhea and abdominal pain are common. Later the stools become greenish-yellow and contain undigested food. In severe infections, there is fluid in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and edema of the face, abdominal wall, and the lower extremities. These symptoms are especially meaningful if the person concerned has been eating any of the indicated foods; but definite diagnosis depends upon finding the eggs in the stools. Death rarely results from the disease itself, except in children; but the victim may become so weakened by it that some other disease overcomes him. This disease is rare in the Western Hemisphere, but fairly common in the Orient.
Fluke Or Trematode Infections Treatment And Prevention
- If the disease is suspected, have a stool examination to find the parasite eggs.
- When the disease is known to be present, its treatment should be supervised by a physician. The accepted remedy is hexylresorcinol, available in 100-milligram pills. Dosage is as follows: Under six years of age, 1 pill for each year of age. 6 to 8 years of age, 6 pills. 8 to 12 years of age, 8 pills. Adults and children over 12,10 pills. The evening before the drug is given, the patient should have a light supper and before retiring take 1 tablespoonful of sodium sulfate in a half glass of water as a laxative. The next morning, the hexylresorcinol should be taken on an empty stomach. Two hours later, take another tablespoonful of sodium sulfate in a half glass of water. This completes one course of treatment. A second course, and perhaps a third is usually necessary, at four-day intervals.
- As a preventive measure avoid eating raw caltrops, water chestnuts, or other roots, plants, or "nuts" that might have Fasciolopsis buski cysts attached to them.