, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 85-95
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Biliary parasites: Diagnostic and therapeutic strategies

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Opinion statement

Parasitic infections of the biliary tract are a common cause of biliary obstruction in endemic areas. This article focuses on primary biliary parasites: Ascaris lumbricoides, Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, Opisthorchis felineus, Dicrocoelium dendriticum, Fasciola hepatica, and Fasciola gigantica. Tropical and subtropical countries have the highest incidence and prevalence of these infections. Diagnosis is made primarily through direct microscopic examination of eggs in the stool, duodenal, or bile contents. Radiologic imaging may show intrahepatic ductal dilatation, whereas endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography can be used diagnostically and therapeutically. However, oral treatment is inexpensive and effective for most of these parasites and can prevent untoward consequences. Primary and alternative treatments are available and are reviewed in this article.