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Causal Agent:

The trematode Clonorchis sinensis (Chinese or oriental liver fluke).

Life Cycle:

Clonorchis sinensis lifecycle




Embryonated eggs are discharged in the biliary ducts and in the stool . Eggs are ingested by a suitable snail intermediate host . Each egg releases a miracidia , which go through several developmental stages (sporocysts , rediae , and cercariae ). The cercariae are released from the snail and after a short period of free-swimming time in water, they come in contact and penetrate the flesh of freshwater fish, where they encyst as metacercariae . Infection of humans occurs by ingestion of undercooked, salted, pickled, or smoked freshwater fish . After ingestion, the metacercariae excyst in the duodenum and ascend the biliary tract through the ampulla of Vater . Maturation takes approximately 1 month. The adult flukes (measuring 10 to 25 mm by 3 to 5 mm) reside in small and medium sized biliary ducts. In addition to humans, carnivorous animals can serve as reservoir hosts.

Life cycle image and information courtesy of DPDx.