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Keywords:

  • Acute phase;
  • diagnosis;
  • Fasciola hepatica;
  • human fascioliasis;
  • portal vein thrombosis;
  • treatment

Clin Microbiol Infect 2012; 18: 91–96

Abstract

Because of its infrequent and protean presentation and the lack of clinical data, the management of acute infections with the foodborne trematode Fasciola hepatica is challenging. We report four serologically confirmed cases that illustrate our experience with this parasitic infection in Chile. All patients were adults presenting with upper abdominal pain. Other symptoms included fever, nausea/vomiting, and cutaneous manifestations. In all cases, marked eosinophilia was present. All patients lived in an urban environment, and three reported the consumption of raw watercress. Computed tomography (CT) scans showed hypodense hepatic lesions, whereas ultrasonography findings were unremarkable. One patient suffered portal vein thrombosis, which might be a rare complication of acute fascioliasis. All patients were successfully treated with triclabendazole. Our case series demonstrates that patients with acute fascioliasis typically present with a combination of upper abdominal pain, marked eosinophilia, and hypodense hepatic lesions on CT imaging. Diagnosis should be confirmed by serological investigation. A history of recent consumption of raw watercress is an important finding, but in some patients the source of infection remains obscure.