Opisthorchis viverrini Infection in Thailand: Studies on the Morbidity of the Infection and Resolution Following Praziquantel Treatment

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  • Department of Clinical Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary, Bangkok, Thailand
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A community study on opisthorchiasis was conducted in Prachinburi Province in eastern Thailand during 1990–1992. The morbidity from opisthorchiasis in the community and reversibility of biliary pathology following treatment with praziquantel at a single dose of 40 mg/kg were assessed by longitudinal investigations of clinical, laboratory, and ultrasonographic changes. A total of 913 voluntary subjects infected with Opisthorchis viverrini were randomly selected for longitudinal study, and 579 subjects without liver fluke infection were recruited as controls. The majority of the study group suffered from mild and moderate infections that were associated with nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms. Grade I and II ultrasonographic changes, which indicated chronic inflammation of the biliary tract and gallbladder, were detected in 32% of the infected individuals. Clinical symptoms and ultrasonographic changes were common in subjects 21–40 years of age and older. Satisfactory resolution of morbidity was observed during two years follow-up on days 0, 60, 180, 360, and 720, as shown by significant clinical improvement, normalization of laboratory parameters, and downgrading of ultrasonographic abnormalities. Portable ultrasonography has proved to be a reliable noninvasive technique in the evaluation of the morbidity due to opisthorchiasis in rural areas.