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Clonorchis Sinensis Infection

Last updated Dec. 15, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Clonorchiasis is an infection caused by a parasitic worm, the Chinese liver fluke, or scientifically called Clonorchis sinensis (also known as Opisthorchis sinensis). The term “fluke” means flatfish, since these parasites are flat.


The topic Clonorchis Sinensis Infection you are seeking is a synonym, or alternative name, or is closely related to the medical condition Clonorchiasis.

Quick Summary:

  • Clonorchiasis is an infection caused by a parasitic worm, the Chinese liver fluke, or scientifically called Clonorchis sinensis (also known as Opisthorchis sinensis). The term “fluke” means flatfish, since these parasites are flat
  • The parasite has various stages (life cycle), before it develops into a fully-grown worm
    • At the very early stage, it moves from water (environment) into the body of a mollusk, such as a snail. Following this, it leaves the mollusk body and enters into a freshwater fish, such as a smelt
    • Humans ingest the parasite when they eat the raw, partially-cooked, salted, or under-processed fish. More commonly, dogs, cats, pigs, and rats eat the freshwater fish and easily ingest the parasite
    • Once in the body of humans, it resides and grows into an adult worm, measuring up to 1.5 cm in size in the liver bile ducts
    • The adult worm lays and hatches its eggs, which gets passed into the intestine from the bile duct and come out through stool, into the environment. In this manner, the life-cycle of the parasite continues
    • The parasitic worm can live in the bile duct or the liver for 20-30 years     
  • Clonorchiasis, or the Chinese Liver Fluke Disease, is common in China, Vietnam, Korea, East Asia, Japan, and Russia, due to the practice of eating raw, freshwater fish
  • In humans, the acute infectious stage is usually asymptomatic. In chronic infections, bile duct and liver abnormalities, such as abdominal pain (especially on the right side near the rib cage), are common. It may also cause inflammation of the liver
  • If chronic infection is left untreated, it may lead to bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)

Please find comprehensive information on Clonorchiasis regarding definition, distribution, risk factors, causes, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, prognosis, and additional useful information HERE.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 1, 2017
Last updated: Dec. 15, 2019