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Opisthorchis viverrini, Molecular Detection

Molecular testing for trematode Opisthorchis viverrini in stool is used for the diagnosis and laboratory documentation of opisthorchiasis.

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Opisthorchis viverrini is a human parasitic trematode widespread mainly in southeast Asia and Europe. It causes a disease called opisthorchiasis. The life cycle of this parasite is very complex and lasts for 20 years. Infection occurs by eating undercooked fish containing larvae. The eaten larva gets into the duodenum, where it uses the Vater's ampulla to move to the bile ducts where it reaches sexual maturity. Adult individuals are anchored in the bile or pancreatic ducts where they lay eggs. The host organism provides nutrients for the parasite and eliminates the products of its life processes. Parasites suppress the host's immunity responses.

In mild cases, the disease appears as dyspepsia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. During the prolonged invasion of the parasites, the symptoms may be more severe: hepatomegaly and malnutrition may be present. In rare cases, invasion leads to cholangitis, cholecystitis, and cholangiocarcinoma.

Opisthorchis felineus is a different species that occurs mainly in Europe and Asia, including the former Soviet Union.

Diagnosis is based on the microscopic identification of eggs in stool specimens. However, the eggs of Opisthorchis are practically indistinguishable from those of Clonorchis. Molecular testing of feces for the presence of the trematode Opisthorchis viverrini DNA using the real-time PCR (RT-PCR) technique is the fastest, most sensitive, and most effective method for detecting the parasite.

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