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Foodborne trematode infections (Source :
ections/infections_more/en/ )
Foodborne trematode infections, or foodborne trematodiases, are a group of parasitic infections
caused by trematodes (flatworms or flukes) that are acquired through ingestion of food
contaminated with the larval stages of the parasite.
Transmission is linked to human behaviour patterns related to methods of producing, processing
and preparing foods. In particular, dishes containing raw fish, crustaceans and plants are an
established dietary tradition of many populations living in countries where these diseases are
endemic. Foodborne trematodiases are thus sustained and perpetuated by entrenched cultural
Foodborne trematode infections are all zoonotic infections; that is, diseases primarily affecting
domestic or wild animals that may be transmitted to humans. Transmission occurs when humans
enter the parasites biological cycle to replace its natural reservoir final animal host.
Transmission cycles differ for each type of parasite, but they share some common characteristics:
they are complex and involve one or two intermediate hosts, usually a mollusc and an animal
species such as fish or crustaceans.
A significant number of trematode infections are transmitted by consuming contaminated food.
Although most of these infections are only mildly pathogenic, severe pathology in humans is
caused by four main genera: Clonorchis spp. (that cause clonorchiasis); Opisthorchis spp. (that
cause opisthorchiasis); Fasciola spp. (that cause fascioliasis); and Paragonimus spp. (that cause
Foodborne trematode infections are particularly prevalent in east and south-east Asia, and in
central and south America. The number of individuals affected is difficult to calculate; WHO
estimates that at least 40 million people are infected.