Does not cause watercress liver fluke parasites

Fasciola hepatica (great liver fluke)

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Last edited by Dr. rer. nat. Geraldine Nagel • Medical editor

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The great liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) is a parasite. It is one of the trematodes and lives in the bile ducts of ruminants. The great liver fluke occurs all over the world - but it is more common in Central and South America, southern France, England and North Africa, especially in sheep and cattle breeding areas.

Fasciola hepatica needed for the Development cycle Freshwater snails as intermediate hosts. With the stool of infected animals, eggs of the parasite get into the environment and also into the water. So-called eyelash larvae (miracidia) hatch out of the eggs, and thanks to their cilia they can move around in order to find a host. So they can meet and attack freshwater snails. In the snails, the larvae develop into so-called tail larvae (cercaria), which then leave the snails.

The cercaria settle on aquatic plants and develop into the infectious stage: the Metacercarias. Ruminants - mostly sheep and goats - can absorb metacercariae into the body by consuming the infested aquatic plants. In the small intestine, the pathogen is released from the metacercarials and can penetrate the intestinal wall. Passes through the peritoneum Fasciola hepatica to the liver, the tissue of which the parasite wanders through for a few weeks until it finally encounters the bile ducts. This is where the parasite settles, develops further to the sexually mature stage and begins to lay eggs. These are released into the environment through the faeces of infected animals.

The human gets infected in general Rare with the great liver fluke. The parasite usually gets into the body through the consumption of raw watercress with larval stages or through the consumption of raw liver of infected sheep and goats, which contains the two to four centimeters long adult liver fluke. In this way it can become so-called in humans Liver fluke disease (Fasciolose) come.

Liver fluke disease (fasciolosis)

An infestation with Fasciola hepatica (Big liver fluke) can be used to Liver fluke disease (Fasciolose) lead. The Complaint picture differs depending on whether the parasite is

  • as a larval stage via watercress or
  • was ingested as an adult leech through raw liver.

However, a fasciolosis can also proceed without any symptoms.

Infection via watercress

This can lead to inflammation of the bile ducts (cholangitis) with an enlarged liver and jaundice due to the backlog of the bile (obstructive jaundice). About four to six weeks after the infection, symptoms such as:

Infection via raw liver

If adult liver flukes are ingested with food, they can attach themselves to the throat and lead to symptoms such as:


An infestation with Fasciola hepatica can be proven by evidence of the worm eggs in the bile or in the secretion of the duodenum.


Fasciocolosis can be treated with medication using the active ingredient triclabendazole. If there are full-grown liver fluke in the throat, they must be removed mechanically.


An infestation through Fasciola hepatica can be avoided by avoiding the consumption of raw watercress and raw sheep and goat liver.

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