Liver Flukes: Clonorchis and Opisthorchis

  • Weerachai Saijuntha
  • Paiboon SithithawornEmail author
  • Nadda Kiatsopit
  • Ross H. Andrews
  • Trevor N. Petney
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1154)


Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, and O. felineus are liver flukes of human and animal pathogens occurring across much of Europe and Asia. Nevertheless, they are often underestimated compared to other, better known neglected diseases in spite of the fact that many millions of people are infected and hundreds of millions are at risk. This is possibly because of the chronic nature of the infection and disease and that it takes several decades prior to a life-threatening pathology to develop. Several studies in the past decade have provided more information on the molecular biology of the liver flukes which clearly lead to better understanding of parasite biology, systematics, and population genetics. Clonorchiasis and opisthorchiasis are characterized by a chronic infection that induces hepatobiliary inflammation, especially periductal fibrosis, which can be detected by ultrasonography. These chronic inflammations eventually lead to cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), a usually fatal bile duct cancer that develops in some infected individuals. In Thailand alone, opisthorchiasis-associated CCA kills up to 20,000 people every year and is therefore of substantial public health importance. Its socioeconomic impacts on impoverished families and communities are considerable. To reduce hepatobiliary morbidity and CCA, the primary intervention measures focus on control and elimination of the liver fluke. Accurate diagnosis of liver fluke infections in both human and other mammalian, snail and fish intermediate hosts, are important for achieving these goals. While the short-term goal of liver fluke control can be achieved by praziquantel chemotherapy, a comprehensive health education package targeting school children is believed to be more beneficial for a long-term goal/solution. It is recommended that a transdisciplinary research or multisectoral control approach including one health and/or eco health intervention strategy should be applied to combat the liver flukes, and hence contribute to reduction of cholangiocarcinoma in endemic areas.


Liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini Clonorchis sinensis Opisthorchis felineus Fish-borne trematodes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weerachai Saijuntha
    • 1
  • Paiboon Sithithaworn
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nadda Kiatsopit
    • 2
  • Ross H. Andrews
    • 3
    • 4
  • Trevor N. Petney
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Walai Rukhavej Botanical Research InstituteMahasarakham UniversityMaha SarakhamThailand
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of MedicineCholangiocarcinoma Research Institute, Khon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  3. 3.CASCAP, Faculty of MedicineCholangiocarcinoma Research Institute, Khon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineSt Mary’s Campus, Imperial College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Paleontology and EvolutionState Museum of Natural HistoryKarlsruheGermany

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