Medical Definition of Heterophyes

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Heterophyes: A minute parasite that lives in the small intestine of humans, cats, dogs and other mammals who acquire it by eating raw or uncooked contaminated fish. Heterophyes is one of the smallest trematodes (parasitic flatworms) infecting humans. The main symptoms are diarrhea and abdominal pain. The lining of the small intestine may break down, permitting the parasite's eggs to enter the bloodstream and be carried to other organs, especially to the heart, liver, and brain, where they can cause serious disease, The diagnosis is based on the microscopic identification of eggs in the stool. Praziquantel (Biltricide) is the drug of choice.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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