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Trends Parasitol. 2008 Nov;24(11):497-501. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Opisthorchis viverrini: an underestimated parasite in world health.

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University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide South Australia, Australia 5001, Australia.


Infection with Opisthorchis viverrini and its associated cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is an underestimated problem in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, despite the widespread use of praziquantel and health education measures for parasite control. Although data from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are rare, data from Thailand often show wide-ranging variability in epidemiological parameters, including human morbidity and the prevalence and incidence of CCA. The recent discovery of high levels of population genetic variability in O. viverrini in different wetlands in Thailand and Laos, which indicates the presence of sibling species, suggests that we have underestimated the complexity of this epidemiological situation. Future research should determine the relationship between the genetic variability of O. viverrini and patterns of opisthorchiasis-related disease.

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