Fluke Diseases With the Highest Mortality Rates

People all over the world suffer from fluke diseases. Some go away on their own or with treatment. Other infections become chronic and often result in organ damage, organ failure, and death.

You can get them from eating contaminated foods like certain plants or animals. Often times, they don’t present with symptoms, which can make them extremely hard to detect (just wait till you see what made No. 1). Here’s what can happen when these diseases go untreated.

But first, what are fluke diseases?

illustration showing male liver anatomy

These diseases can infect multiple parts of the body. | iStock.com/sankalpmaya

Fluke diseases or infections result from parasitic worms called trenatodes. Also called flukes, these parasites can infect a person’s blood, lungs, liver, or intestines. Many of these infections can become fatal if they aren’t treated properly, which is why mortality rates are often so high despite preventative strategies like medication.

7. Fasciolosis

roasted vegetable medley in a bowl

Infected veggies can cause someone to develop fasciolosis. | iStock.com

Fasciolosis mostly affects the liver. It’s a foodborne infection, meaning humans often contract it after consuming infected plants contaminated with a parasite. Symptoms depend on whether or not the case is acute or chronic.

An acute infection can result in internal bleeding, while a long-term chronic infection causes destruction and hardening of the liver.

6. Clonorchiasis

white fish in a white plate with lemon slice

Consuming raw fish can lead to problems. | iStock.com

Another liver-specific fluke, clonorchiasis can infect humans via raw or poorly prepared fish. The parasite lives and reproduces in the gallbladder and bile ducts, and becomes more dangerous the longer a person lives with the infection.

A chronic form of the disease can eventually lead to a fatal form of bile duct cancer. Medication can be an effective treatment, however, if early intervention is possible.

5. Opisthorchiasis

Man holding stomach

Opisthorchiasis doesn’t present symptoms in it’s early stages. | iStock.com

Like other fluke infections of the liver and related parts of the body, this infection can transmit from one animal to a second before entering a human’s digestive tract. There’s one thing that makes this infection a little different than the others, though.

Many cases of opisthorchiasis don’t present with any symptoms, especially in early stages. Early intervention, therefore, isn’t always possible.

4. Paragonimiasis

An appetizer plate of tiger shrimp

Be mindful of the raw shrimp you consume. | MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images

Paragonimiasis lives and breeds in the lungs. You can contract the infection from eating contaminated crustaceans. This infection mimics symptoms of tuberculosis. In some cases, parasites travel to the brain, which can cause dangerous seizures.

3. Schistosomiasis

hands showing red heart

Schistosomiasis can cause damage to the heart. | iStock.com

The parasite that causes this infection enters the human body through the skin, and can cause fever and abdominal pain in acute cases. A chronic schistosomiasis infection can cause further damage in the liver, heart, digestive system, and more.

2. Fasciolopsiasis

Woman lying on couch with hand on stomach suffering from a stomachache.

You may or may not show symptoms of fasciolopsiasis. | iStock.com/champja

An intestinal parasite causes fasciolopsiasis, which primarily impacts the digestive system. You can only get this infection by eating contaminated undercooked or raw aquatic plants. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are common symptoms, but many people don’t notice any symptoms at all.

1. Metagonimiasis

hand grabbing toilet paper

You may have to become more acquainted with the toilet than you’d like. | iStock.com

Eating undercooked fish can also threaten the health of your digestive system. This infection develops in the intestines, which can cause symptoms like nausea and diarrhea, fatigue, and even seizures. Medication can treat the infection, but cooking your fish before eating it can help prevent it.

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