The most common food-borne helminths

There are a huge variety of parasites that can exist in a person’s internal organs or inhabit their skin and hair. These parasites may include helminths for which this medicine helps:

Helminths is the common name for parasitic worms that live in the human body, other animals or plants.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 4.5 billion people in the world are infected with various parasites, many of which are helminths.

Official reporting statistics of the Russian Federation show an increase in the incidence of the main helminth infections in some territories of constituent entities of the Russian Federation, in particular: echinococcosis, opisthorchiasis. In a number of territories, the morbidity rates for enterobiasis and ascariasis remain high.

Let’s try to figure out which helminths, transmitted by food, occur more often in our country, and how to minimize the risk of getting infected with them.

Catflies (catflies, liverworts, lanceolate, etc.)

Humans may be parasitized by more than 40 species of catflies, and the localization of helminths in the body may be very different – liver, lungs, blood vessels.


The liver sucker is the causative agent of fascioliasis and affects the liver and gallbladder.

On the territory of Russia it is found in the Tyumen, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Kirov Regions, and the Republic of Sakha.

A man is infected when he eats vegetable crops that were irrigated with water from open reservoirs.

Patients develop general symptoms of intoxication – weakness, decreased appetite, nausea, headaches. Allergic reactions in the form of skin itching or urticaria, asthmatic attacks may occur.

An increase in the size of the parasite can lead to a violation of the flow of bile into the duodenum and the appearance of signs of mechanical jaundice. Patients have pain in the right subcostal area. Further jaundice of the skin may be observed and discoloration of the feces may be observed.


The causative agent of opistorchosis is the catflies.

The disease is characterized by predominant affection of liver and pancreas. In Russia, the main centers of helminthiasis are Ob-Irtysh basin, as well as the basins of the Volga and Kama rivers.

Infection occurs through the consumption of raw, insufficiently cooked or salted fish.

Clinical manifestations of opistorchosis are characterized by considerable diversity. It depends on the individual characteristics of the organism, as well as the intensity and duration of infection. The number of parasitic worms can vary greatly: from single parasites to several tens and even hundreds. Repeated consumption of contaminated fish leads to an increase in infestation and a worsening of the clinical manifestations. Clinically, the disease may be accompanied by fever in patients, urticaria, skin itching, muscle and joint pain. Patients may have subcostal pain, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and nausea.


The main causative agent of paragonismosis in humans is the lung sucker.

In the Russian Federation, the lungworm lives in the Primorskii and Khabarovsk Territories and the Amur Region.

The pathogen enters the human intestine during the consumption of crustaceans inhabiting areas with a nidus of the disease and migrates through the body: it penetrates through the intestinal wall into the abdominal cavity, and then enters the pleural cavity through the diaphragm and then into lung tissue. Sawfly larvae may also penetrate into other organs and tissues. Especially dangerous is the localization of the parasite in the brain. The extrapulmonary localization of the parasite occurs in one third of infected persons and is often the cause of death.

At the early stage of the disease, when the lungworm only migrates through the body, the disease is virtually asymptomatic. Sometimes there may be minor allergic reactions, skin itching, less often – abdominal pain, jaundice. As soon as the parasite reaches the place of final localization, patients have pronounced symptoms of lung damage: constant cough with profuse sputum, severe pain in the chest area. During the disease, various complications may arise, such as pneumothorax – penetration of air into the pleural cavity. Very often, patients develop pneumonia or pleurisy (inflammation of the pleural cavity).


Tapeworms (cestodes) are a group of parasitic worms that are ribbon-shaped and consist of a varying number of anatomically isolated segments, the proglottids. The worms vary in size from a few millimeters to 10-15 meters and more. At the front end of the worm there is a head, which is the organ of fixation of the parasite to the human intestinal mucosa. Helminth fixed to the intestinal wall with different devices – rounded or slit-shaped suction cups, hooks.


The causative agent of diphyllobotriosis is the broad lenticera, which lives in the human intestine.

Foci of the disease are geographically associated with freshwater bodies and concentrated in the basins of eastern and northern rivers – the Ob, Irtysh, Lena, Yenisei, Amur, Svir, Pechora, Neva, Volga – Kamsky basin.

Lenticum broad – reach a length of 12-15 meters or more, and the number of segments – several thousand.

Infection occurs when using insufficiently heat-treated, freshly frozen, poorly salted, poorly dried and cured fish, raw minced fish, and the use of freshly salted fish roe. The clinical picture is due to the mechanical action of the helminth on the intestinal mucosa and its absorption of nutrients. Patients with diphyllobotriosis complain of pain and rumbling in the stomach, nausea, vomiting. Often there is a disorder of the stool. If several worms are parasitized simultaneously, intestinal obstruction may occur.

Lenticum adsorbs vitamin B12 on its surface, which leads to disruption of red blood cell formation in patients and the emergence of anemia. Patients experience pale skin, weakness, and malaise.