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Parasitol Res. 2004 Jun;93(2):159-70. Epub 2004 Apr 21.

Food-borne intestinal trematodiases in humans.

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Department of Biology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042, USA.


Food-borne trematodiases still remain a public health problem world-wide, despite changes in eating habits, alterations in social and agricultural practices, health education, industrialization, environmental alteration, and broad-spectrum anthelmintics. Food-borne trematodiases usually occur focally, are still persistently endemic in some parts of the world, and are most prevalent in remote rural places among school-age children, low-wage earners, and women of child-bearing age. Intestinal fluke diseases are aggravated by socio-economic factors such as poverty, malnutrition, an explosively growing free-food market, a lack of sufficient food inspection and sanitation, other helminthiases, and declining economic conditions. Control programs implemented for food-borne zoonoses and sustained in endemic areas are not fully successful for intestinal food-borne trematodiases because of centuries-old traditions of eating raw or insufficiently cooked food, widespread zoonotic reservoirs, promiscuous defecation, and the use of "night soil" (human excrement collected from latrines) as fertilizer. This review examines food-borne intestinal trematodiases associated with species in families of the Digenea: Brachylaimidae, Diplostomidae, Echinostomatidae, Fasciolidae, Gastrodiscidae, Gymnophallidae, Heterophyidae, Lecithodendriidae, Microphallidae, Nanophyetidae, Paramphistomatidae, Plagiorchiidae, and Strigeidae. Because most of the implicated species are in the Echinostomatidae and Heterophyidae, emphasis in the review is placed on species in these families.

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