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What are the Symptoms of Liver Parasites?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are several medical conditions that can be caused by the presence of liver parasites. Symptoms and treatment options are similar for each type, although there may be some differences. Some of the most common symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, and weight loss. Muscle pain, fever, and diarrhea are also potential symptoms of parasites in the liver.

Trichinosis is a disease that can lead to the development of liver parasites. This disease is frequently caused by eating undercooked meat from an animal infected with the trichinella spiralis parasite. These symptoms often include abdominal cramping or pain, diarrhea, and muscle pain. The muscle pain associated with this condition is usually the most noticeable when performing actions such as chewing or breathing.

Clonorchiasis is another potential cause of liver parasites. This disease results from eating raw or undercooked fish obtained from an area where this parasitic worm is found. Symptoms of this condition may include chills, fever, and loss of appetite. Jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin and eyes, sometimes develops due to this condition, as does diarrhea. Liver damage or failure may occur in severe cases.

Schistomiasis can lead to infection with liver parasites and is caused by drinking contaminated water. Symptoms of schistomiasis often include fever, chills, and the development of a rash. Some people may have an enlarged spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. Bloody stools and painful urination may also occur with this condition.

Fasciola hepatica infections produce symptoms in only about half of the people who become infected. These parasites can lead to fever, abdominal pain or tenderness, and diarrhea. Other possible symptoms include anemia, hives, or jaundice. If left untreated, this parasite can lead to liver failure or even death.

Echinococcosis is caused by a type of parasite known as a tapeworm. These liver parasites can live in the body for prolonged periods of time without causing any noticeable symptoms. In some cases, cysts develop in one or more organs of the body, often growing quite large in size. In rare cases, tumors may begin to grow in various organs of the body, including the brain. This type of parasitic infection can be fatal if left untreated.

Many liver parasites cause similar symptoms and can be fatal if left untreated. For this reason, prompt medical attention is necessary any time that the presence of liver parasites is suspected. Early diagnosis and treatment can frequently prevent any lasting damage to the liver as well as other organs of the body.

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Discussion Comments

By anon350510 — On Oct 05, 2013

I would also point out that there are things like steak tar tar and prime rib which are usually cooked rare, if at all. There's an easy vector that might not be thought twice about. Also, it is very easy when cooking over a fire while camping to sear the outside of meat but leave the center undercooked. The palate likely won't recognize a problem as the overpowering charcoal exterior will dominate the taste, while the texture will hit the palate as correct when compared to the crunch of the burned exterior.

Undercooked fish obviously brings sushi to mind, but take the thought another step: if fish can be eaten satisfactorily raw, then how does one gauge undercooked?

I bring up these points because it is just as possible to self infect as it is to have others infect you -- something that the previous posts seemed to be leaving out of their logic. --revscrj

By strawCake — On Feb 02, 2012

The symptoms of liver parasites sound pretty similar to the symptoms of regular, run of the mill food poisoning! The only thing that sounds different is the fact that an infected person usually gets jaundice. I guess that would probably tip a doctor (and the patient too) off that it might be liver parasites instead of food poisoning.

Either way, this sounds like some scary stuff. I knew parasites could be pretty harmful, but I didn't realize they could be fatal! I guess if I ever get any of these symptoms I'll rush to the doctor right away.

By JaneAir — On Feb 01, 2012

@JessicaLynn - It seems a bit paranoid to stop going out to eat because you might get a liver parasite. I've never even heard of liver parasites in humans before I stumbled on this article.

In fact, I rarely hear about people getting infected by parasites at all, except when they travel outside of the United States. We have pretty good food safety procedures in this country that the likelihood of getting sick is pretty slim.

Even if you did eat a piece of undercooked meat, the meat would have to be contaminated in order for you to get a parasite. I don't think the possibility of that is very high.

By JessicaLynn — On Jan 31, 2012

It sounds like most human parasites that affect the liver come from eating undercooked food or drinking contaminated water. I swear, stuff like this makes me feel paranoid about eating in restaurants (or other people's houses)!

I feel like you can really never know that your food is cooked safely unless you do it yourself. It's too easy to get a piece of undercooked meat in a restaurant and decide to "just eat it" so you don't have to wait for them to cook it more.

I rarely go out to eat anyway, and this is just one more reason not to!

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