Concept by Shannan Summers @Shannan_tropmed, design by The Science Social.
The worm of the week is the good old Liver Fluke, specifically Fasciola hepatica. Worms are a type of parasite that can cause disease in humans and livestock!
Fasciola hepatica is an important zoonotic infection. Zoonotic means in this context means the worm has jumped from a non-human species to a human. 2 million human cases have been estimated worldwide!
Fasciola hepatica worm can be found all over the world, particularly in areas where sheep or cattle are farmed.
There is an acute phase of infection, and a chronic stage of infection. Depending on the phase of infection, the diagnosis differs.
For example, during an acute infection, the immature worms penetrate the gut (after ingestion). The body is able to produce an immune response, resulting in the presence of antibodies against the worms!? The presence of these antibodies are then detectable in a diagnostic test.
During a chronic infection, the worms have matured in the bile duct of the liver. The presence of the infection is detected by examining the faeces for eggs! – A glamorous diagnostic test, for sure!
Fasciola hepatica infections are often treated with antihelmintic drug triclabendazole. This drug works by expelling the worm by either stunning it or killing it. Without harm to the host, such as the human. However, drug resistance is becoming an issue?!