Lung Fluke Disease Prevention and Treatment
Like other fluke previously mentioned this eggs develop in fresh water, enter and multiply, then emerge and enter the soft tissue of fresh water crabs and crayfish. Man and domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, acquire the infection from eating uncooked crabs and crayfish or from drinking water which contains the cysts.
Once these parasites enter the digestive tract of man they migrate through the intestinal wall, burrow through the diaphragm, and enter the lungs where they develop into mature lung flukes, forming cyst containing one or more worms. Some of these cysts may ulcerate resembling tuberculosis lesions. Other organs, such as the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, heart, and brain, may also be involved.
Most of these patient have a chronic cough which is more pronounced in the early morning. The sputum is blood-stained, and there may be chest pain with pleurisy, shortness breath, fever, and lack of appetite present in heavy infections. Many of these patients suffer from anemia to a moderate degree. When the brain and central nervous system are involved, the patient may suffer from epilepsy due to the presence of the flukes.
Lung fluke disease, also known as paragonimiasis, may be difficult to distinguish from tuberculosis. In fact, both disease may be present in the same patient. These particular worms live approximately six years, so that if tha patient is not re-infected, the disease gradually dies out, unless complicated by tuberculosis or some other serious condition.
Lung Fluke Disease Treatment:
Unfortunately there is no specific remedy for this disease. Emetine hydrochloride, 65 gm. given intramuscular daily for twelve days, will reduce the egg production of the worms. Sulfa drugs may also have some value. Chloroquine has been tried with some success, but serious infections of the brain can only be cured by surgery.
Be sure all sea foods and fresh water foods, such as crabs and crayfish are thoroughly cooked before eating. Salting, pickling, soaking in rice wine is not sufficient to kill this parasite. Proper disposal of human wastes is also important. All drinking water should be boiled to prevent infection.