Peter Wroe, Class of 2008,

Stanford University

Parasites & Pestilence: Infectious Public Health Challenges

Prof. D. Scott Smith,

Created May 24, 2006



















Human Echinostomiasis


Human echinostomiasis is an intestinal parasitic disease caused by one of at least sixteen trematode flukes from the genus Echinostoma. Found largely in southeast Asia and the Far East, echinostomiasis is transmitted through the ingestion of one of several possible intermediate hosts, which could include snails or other mollusks, certain fresh water fish, crustaceans or amphibians. These flukes are of moderate size and are distinguished by an oral sucker surrounded by a characteristic collar of spines.

Upon infection of the human host, the worms aggregate in the small intestine where they may cause no symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms in rare cases, depending on the number of worms present. Effective drugs for treatment do exist, but the disease still remains a problem in endemic areas. What's more, prevention and control is possible through measures such as health education, altered eating habits so as not to include ingestion of raw fish, mollusks and other sources of the disease, and alteration of the environment for removal of wastewater and industrial discharge that may be home to the parasite.

Use the links at the left to navigate through the various pages that explain different aspects of echinostomiasis and the parasitic echinostomes that cause it.