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What is Paragonimus?

Paragonimus is a parasitic lung fluke (flat worm). Cases of infection occur after a person eats raw or undercooked infected crab or crayfish. Paragonimus infection also can be very serious if the fluke travels to the central nervous system, where it can cause symptoms that mimic meningitis.

Where is Paragonimus found?

Paragonimus westermani and several other species are found throughout eastern, southwestern, and southeast Asia; (including China, the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand). P. africanus is found in Africa, and P. mexicanus in Central and South America. P. kellicotti is found in the mid-western and southern United States living in crayfish. Some cases of infection have been associated with eating raw crayfish on river raft trips in the Midwest. P. kellicotti or other species have caused paragonimiasis after ingestion of raw freshwater crabs in sushi. There are several species of Paragonimus in other parts of the world that can infect humans.

How is Paragonimus transmitted?

The infection is transmitted by eating crab or crawfish that is either, raw, partially cooked, pickled, or salted. The larval stages of the parasite are released when the crab or crawfish is digested. They then migrate within the body, ending up in the lungs. In 6-10 weeks the larvae mature into adult flukes.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Adult flukes living in the lung cause lung disease that may never be diagnosed or is thought to be tuberculosis. After 2-15 days, the initial signs and symptoms may be diarrhea and abdominal pain. This may be followed several days later by fever, chest pain, and fatigue. The symptoms may also include a dry cough initially, which later often becomes productive with rusty-colored or blood-tinged sputum on exertion.

How is Paragonimus infection diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually made by identifying Paragonimus eggs in the sputum or sometime in the stool (from ingesting after coughing up).

Is Paragonimus infection contagious?

No. Paragonimus is not contagious.

Is there treatment?

Yes, there is treatment. Several drugs are available through your physician after being accurately diagnosed.

How can I prevent Paragonimus infection?

Never eat raw freshwater crabs or crayfish. Cook crabs and crayfish for to at least 145°F (~63°C). Travelers should be advised to avoid traditional meals containing undercooked freshwater crustaceans.


For more information view the source:Center for Disease Control

Recommended Test:Full GI Panel

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