Hepatic Fluke: Developmental Cycle And Structure, Symptoms And Treatment In Humans

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Hepatic Fluke: Developmental Cycle And Structure, Symptoms And Treatment In Humans
Hepatic Fluke: Developmental Cycle And Structure, Symptoms And Treatment In Humans

Video: Hepatic Fluke: Developmental Cycle And Structure, Symptoms And Treatment In Humans

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Video: What is Fasciolopsiasis ( Fasciola Infections ) 2023, February

The hepatic fluke is a common flatworm helminth that affects the liver and gallbladder tissue. In clinical practice, there are several types of pathogen of this genus. Untimely diagnosis and therapy can lead to serious consequences that endanger the life and health of the patient.


  • 1 Body structure and stages of development of the parasite
  • 2 First and second intermediate host
  • 3 Existence and reproduction in the final host
  • 4 Types of liver flukes

    • 4.1 Hepatic fluke
    • 4.2 Fasciola giant
    • 4.3 Chinese liver fluke
  • 5 Where it lives, and how you can get infected
  • 6 Typical symptoms of infection

    • 6.1 During incubation
    • 6.2 In the acute stage
  • 7 In the chronic stage
  • 8 What is the danger of diseases caused by worms
  • 9 Diagnosis
  • 10 Treatment with medicines
  • 11 Folk remedies in the fight against liver flukes
  • 12 Preventive measures

Body structure and stages of development of the parasite

Liver flukes range in size from one to twenty centimeters, which differ depending on the life cycle. On the surface of the worm's body there are two suction cups, due to which the pathogen is fixed to the host's body and the nutrients are obtained. The outer shell is represented by the cuticle, which performs a protective function and has similar characteristics for individuals of different species. The development of the senses is minimal.

The reproductive system is characterized by the presence of hermaphroditism. The circulatory and excretory systems are of a primitive type of structure

First and second intermediate host

For the life of the hepatic fluke, the presence of an aqueous environment is necessary. In the life cycle scheme, after the larvae emerge from the eggs, the search for the primary host takes place. The causative agent can be molluscs or crustaceans.

Once in the host's body, the larvae absorb nutrients and grow rapidly. When a certain size is reached, they transform into sporocysts. The latter are equipped with an embryonic apparatus and are capable of forming new larvae - cercariae. After they grow in the body of a mollusk or crustacean, they go out to search for intermediate hosts.


Since they move freely in the environment, many individuals cannot find a second owner in the reservoir and die. An insignificant amount is able to penetrate those organisms on which they cannot exist. Fish acts as a second host.

Existence and reproduction in the final host

Any warm-blooded vertebrate mammals can become the final host of the hepatic fluke. Often the lesion occurs in herbivores. The processes of sexual reproduction begin in their body.

As a result of their life, eggs are formed. As parasitism proceeds, the eggs, through the feces of the final hosts, enter the environment, passing through the following stages of life.


Types of liver flukes

The classification of pathogens provides for the presence of several types of hepatic fluke.

Hepatic fluke

The fluke has an average size of up to 2 centimeters. Worms are characterized by a leaf-like shape. Their description is similar to other members of this genus. The defeat of the body by this pathogen is characterized by the development of pathological foci in the tissue of the liver and gallbladder. In order to completely pass the life cycle, the eggs of the pathogen need to get into the aquatic environment. For a long time, the larvae can live in water, attaching to plants.

Fasciola giant

The causative agents of the lingual form have an average size of 7 centimeters. They are equipped with two suction devices - abdominal and oral. In more rare cases, the presence of a feature in the form of a third sucker in the posterior sections is found. They help the parasite to adhere to the intestinal wall.


The pathogen does not move independently, but is localized only in one area. Due to the presence of suckers, the fluke is nourished with blood and cellular fluid. In the life cycle, eggs are deposited that are yellow or brown in color, as well as a large diameter. In the giant fasciola there is no circulatory system, as well as no sense organs. The structure of the nervous system is primitive. Having a protective shell helps prevent toxic effects from digestive enzymes.

Chinese liver fluke

This pathogen is found in the countries of the East and Asia. The length of the individual reaches 25 centimeters, its shape is elongated. For its life cycle, it is required to change the host, which are freshwater snails and freshwater fish. Upon penetration into the body, a change occurs from cercariae to metocercariae.


Where it lives, and how can you get infected

Depending on the stage of development, as well as the type of pathogen, its habitat differs. Snails, fish (liver fluke lives in bream, roach, and perch), as well as cattle and pigs can act as intermediate hosts.

Infection occurs when:

  1. Eating foods that have not been thoroughly washed. These are, for example, fruits and vegetables watered with water with a pathogen and then eaten without processing.
  2. Drinking raw water that has not been boiled or filtered.
  3. Accidental ingestion of water from reservoirs where helminths live.
  4. Eating fish or meat that has not gone through the necessary heat treatment stages. Also if a person prefers to eat raw meat products.
  5. Failure to comply with hygiene measures during rest or work with the ground.

Typical symptoms of infection

Each person has individual symptoms of hepatic fluke infection. It largely depends on the stage of parasitism.

During the incubation period

The incubation period in humans is characterized by the fact that the development of signs of pathological symptoms is not observed. Its duration can range from a week to several months.

In the acute stage

This stage is migratory. The patient develops not only general toxic, but also allergic symptoms


Among them are:

  1. The presence of an elevated temperature. Its nature is different, it reaches critical figures during an exacerbation. Its course is either constant, but undulating development is not excluded. Daily fluctuations are insignificant.
  2. Development of intoxication in the form of weakness, malaise and decreased exercise tolerance.
  3. Formation of allergic manifestations in the form of rashes like urticaria, as well as severe itching with swelling. In rare cases, it is possible to form a generalized reaction with Quincke's edema.
  4. The appearance of dyspeptic disorders with vomiting and nausea.
  5. Hepatomegaly reaching critical numbers. This condition is characterized by the appearance of jaundice and severe pain syndrome.
  6. Stenocardial syndrome with pain, fluctuations in blood pressure, and tachycardia.

The duration of the development of these symptoms is different, in many respects it depends on the state of the patient's immune forces.

In the chronic stage

The development of the chronic form occurs six months or a year after the invasion of the pathogen into the body. For her, the most characteristic symptomatology is characteristic of the defeat of the hepatobiliary system. Among the main manifestations are:

  1. Development of pain syndrome, localized in the right hypochondrium. The pain is dull and persistent.
  2. Jaundice, which forms against the background of exacerbation.
  3. An increase in the size of the liver, while the patient feels severe discomfort.
  4. Anemia, as well as signs of protein deficiency and intoxication caused by insufficient functional activity of hepatic cells.
  5. Clinic of an infectious lesion, with the addition of a secondary infection and the formation of an abscess or cholangitis.
  6. With atypical localization of the pathogen, pathological symptoms may appear that are characteristic of a violation of the functioning of these organs.

What is the danger of diseases caused by worms

The development of severe complications is possible in cases where the patient is infected with a hepatic fluke for a long time and does not seek help from a specialist. Among the main pathologies that are caused by the action of the parasite, there are:

  1. Development of a chronic inflammatory process in the gallbladder, liver and kidneys.
  2. Insufficiency of these organs.
  3. With a breakthrough of the gallbladder or other cavities where the pathogen or an infected focus is located, inflammation of the abdominal cavity with massive suppuration may occur.
  4. The development of malignant tissue degeneration.

Injury can sometimes be life-threatening for the patient.


In order to diagnose fascioliasis, it is necessary to carry out diagnostics to supplement the clinical picture of pathological symptoms. There are no exact methods of confirmation; they only help increase the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis. These include:

  1. General clinical blood test. Its implementation is carried out in the acute period of fascioliasis. According to the results of the conduct, an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate is revealed, as well as an excess of the norms of the content of leukocytes. In some cases, mild eosinophilia will be noted. The chronic course is not characterized by high information content.
  2. Biochemistry. When diagnosing blood during damage to internal organs, in particular, the hepatobiliary system, there is a change in biochemical parameters. The most characteristic increase in transaminases, bilirubin, C-reactive protein. The degree of increase in the standard values ​​is proportional to the severity of the process.
  3. Stool analysis. Identification of the pathogen in the form of hepatic fluke eggs is possible only after at least 12-15 weeks have passed from the moment of infection. When examining the contents of the rectum, a laboratory assistant can detect eggs characteristic of a given helminth. With a slight seeding, the release of eggs with feces is not always recorded.
  4. Microscopy of duodenal juice. During gastroscopy, secretions are obtained from liver cells. It also manages to detect the eggs of the pathogen. A similar technique is carried out no earlier than 3 months from the date of the alleged infection.
  5. Ultrasound examination of internal organs. The technique is popular due to its non-invasiveness and ease of implementation. In some cases, the patient may require special training, which will consist of avoiding food intake for several hours.
  6. Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography. Its implementation is necessary in case of questionable results obtained in previous studies.

After receiving positive results, you need to seek help from a specialist.

Medication treatment

The main method of removing the pathogen from the body is drug therapy. Among the anthelmintic drugs, the following drugs are used:

  1. Praziquantel. The agent acts on the cell membranes of the pathogen, increasing their permeability. As a result, the wall begins to pass calcium, its excess leads to the development of paralysis and the subsequent death of the pest.

    To achieve the effect, a single use is sufficient. In order to monitor the effectiveness, a repeated course is required with an interval of six months.

  2. Chlorsil. This drug is available in the form of a powder, which leads to a decrease in the activity and subsequent death of the pathogen. The dosage is selected based on body weight. It is calculated at the rate of 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This dosage is daily, after its use, control treatment is carried out six months later.

The above agents are etiotropic therapy in the treatment of flukes. In addition, drug treatment involves the appointment of symptomatic agents that improve well-being.


These include:

  1. A group of antihistamines that reduce the severity of an allergic reaction and sensitization of the body.
  2. Means with a choleretic effect. They help to reduce the severity of damage to the gallbladder and biliary tract. These include Hofitol or Holosas.
  3. Pancreatic enzymes. They help to improve digestion by achieving a replacement effect.
  4. Glucocorticoid drugs. They are prescribed for the treatment of complications caused by the action of the parasite, such as myocarditis or hepatitis of a toxic nature.

Therapy should be constantly monitored by a specialist in order to exclude the development of complications.


Folk remedies in the fight against hepatic flukes

There are a large number of alternative therapies that help eliminate the hepatic fluke. These control measures should be used in conjunction with drugs.

Among the main recipes for traditional medicine are:

  1. Birch tar. A solution of birch tar is stirred in a glass of warm milk. A few drops are enough to create sufficient concentration. One glass should be consumed per day before meals. The course of treatment is 10 days, followed by a break of 20 days.
  2. Aspen bark. Aspen bark infusion can be prepared from a pre-made and crushed mixture.

Preventive actions

In order to prevent the development of serious diseases in the internal organs, preventive measures must be observed.

They include the following procedures:

  1. Restricting the feeding of domestic animals with products that have not undergone heat treatment, in particular, fish and meat products.
  2. Carrying out hygiene measures after contact with domestic or wild animals.
  3. Purification of water before use.
  4. Establishing control over the processing of utensils used for cutting and processing fish or meat products.
  5. Refusal to eat foods that have not undergone heat treatment.

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