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How and where would I become infected with liver fluke or Schistosoma?

The common liver fluke is a parasite called Fasciola hepatica, which causes an infection called fasciolasis. The adult fluke lives in the liver of humans, cows and sheep. Fasciola hepatica produces eggs that are excreted with feces and find their way to water. In the water they change and are able to penetrate the skin of water snails. There they change again, exit the snail and are able to form cysts on water vegitation, such as watercress. When the vegetation is eaten by the cow, sheep or human, the cyst enters the body where it develops into the adult fluke, or flat worm, and finds and feeds on the liver. It is found in areas where cattle and sheep are raised all over the world.

Various species of Schistosoma cause a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis. The parasite can enter the human body by penetrating the skin of a person swimming or bathing in contaminated fresh water. The parasite matures to the flat worm form in humans. The worm produces eggs, which when excreted in the feces, find their way to fresh water where they change into larvae. The larvae penetrate the skin of fresh water snails where they live and change again. When the snail eliminates the changed larvae, they contaminate the water and come into contact with people. Schistosoma species are found in parts of Africa, South America and parts of the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean. It is sometimes called the blood fluke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.