Friday, February 24, 2012

Fasciolopsis Buski- the giant fluke

IntroductionFasciolopsis Buski is commonly known as the giant fluke.  It causes the disease fasciolpsiasis, which humans contract by consuming contaminated water plants. This disease can be asymptomatic if the parasite load is light.  However, if the parasite load is heavy, then symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, swelling, and toxemia (toxins in the blood stream).1

Symbiont Description: The genus name of this parasite is Fasciolopsis and it is a member of the trematode class.  There are two members of the Fasciolopsis genus, but only one is pathogenic.

Host Description:In the first stage of life, snails serve as hosts to the parasite. In the second stage, humans or pigs serve as the host when they consume water plants on which the metacercariae are encysted.

Life Cycle: Unembryonated eggs are laid in the intestine of humans or pigs. Eggs are passed in stool and are embryonated in water.  Eggs hatch into miracidiae. The miracidae infect snails, where they develop into cercariae.  Cercariae exit the snail and become free swimming, when they infect encyst as metacercariae on aquatic plants.  Mammalian hosts become infected when the ingest the affected aquatic plants. 1,2

Ecology:   F. buski is endemic  to South Eastern Asia, where it is estimated to affect over 10 million people.  Fasciolopsiasis can be diagnosed by identifying eggs in stool under a microscope.  This disease is easily cured by praziquantel. The most effective way to prevent fasciolopsiasis infections is to boil water plants before consuming them.  Drinking water should also be boiled or filtered in areas where sanitation is poor. Human and/or pig feces should not be used as fertilizer.2

An Example of Social Status
 Individuals who are affected by fasciolopsiasis are generally in impoverished areas of the world, where water sanitation is not at its best.  Thus, the encounter filter is more open for these individuals than someone who lives in average America.  People have fewer resources at lower quality, which increases their risk of infection.  Education about sanitation could potentially lead to lower prevalence.3

3.) Combes, Claude. Parasitology: The Ecology and Evolution of Intimate Interactions.

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