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In fact, I think I'll just keep eating for a while, I'm not feeling quite full yet. There, that did it.
Did I mention there's a whole bunch of us hanging out in here? Well, it seems there were quite a few of us in that fish our human ate, and we've all taken up residence here. Some of us are in the intestines, but most of us are just hanging out here, enjoying the company. After breakfast, I just take a little time to digest my meal, and then it's time for my own morning cleansing. I'll excrete my nasty stuff, right into my human's bile, and then it will travel out along with my human's excretions. I spend some time shifting around and making sure I'm securely attached, so I don't head outside along with the morning meal, and then, I'm ready to do my favorite thing for the day. REPRODUCE!!
Yeah, that's one of the highlights of my day, and the real miracle is, I don't need any help from my friends! That's right, you might think it's weird, but I'm a hermaphrodite, which means I'm really my own best friend. I have both testes and ovaries, which means I can send out little flukes as often as I want, and I tell you, that's pretty often. Sometimes, I like to mingle with a friend for some cross-fertilization, but usually, I just rely on my own self-fertilization to get things going. Then, I send out thousands of eggs at a time, just to make sure that at least some of them survive. I don't pat them on the head and wish them well, I just pop them out and send them on their way, right out the old intestines in my human's feces. Hey, did you know that some Asians still feed their fish in fish farms human feces, which means, I'm so ready for my intermediate host right away. See, these researchers said so, "In relation to pisciculture, 25% and 9% of the owners of fish ponds fed their fish with feces of domestic animals and human feces, respectively. The prevalences of C. sinensis infection in cats, dogs and pigs were 70, 50 and 27 precent, respectively, and the infection rate in fish was 40%" (Lin et al. 2005, 1114). With odds like that, how could I possibly not take advantage and reproduce like crazy?
Hey, you might think thousands are a lot, but it's hard to survive being a fluke!! First, we have to make it out of our human, and then into a water source, because we don't survive on dry land. Then, we have to have a snail come along and eat us, and then, we have to mature and make it back into the water so we can find our perfect fish, and then you have to eat us. Do you have any idea how many of us just don't make it, and head off to that fluke place in the sky? A lot, let me tell you, so don't think I'm exaggerating when I say it's important for me to send out thousands and thousands of eggs during my life time. it's preservation, dude, and I'm good at it, really good.
OK, so I spend a lot of the day reproducing. Wouldn't you, if you could? Anyway, when I'm not reproducing, I'm eating. Life's tough, huh? Then, I shift around a little to find a more comfortable position, and then, I nap, because it's hard work doing all that reproducing by yourself. I don't much care when I do all this, morning, noon, or night, because I don't have eyes, remember, so it really doesn't matter when I'm up and around, and when I'm not. Oh, and it's not like there's a lot of light coming into my bile duct, anyway. I just eat, sleep, and reproduce whenever I feel like it. Of course, life is always busy when the bile duct is producing bile and I have a fresh supply of food. I can tell when my human has eaten, and when my human is sleeping by the activity around me, and so, I kind of react to when my human is active and not active. But really, anytime is the right time for me, when eating and reproducing are concerned, and there's not much else to my day.
So, there you have it, a day in my life. I'm a Chinese Liver Fluke, and I'm biologically important because I am so prevalent, and I'm one of the leading causes of liver disease and cancer in Asian countries. More than that, I'm important because I can live so long in adverse conditions, which means, I can live on in fish (and in you) long after they're only a delicious dinner memory. You didn't know that a tiny worm parasite not even an inch long could be so important, now did you? I'm sure the next time we run into each other, you'll be a little more impressed. Oh, and don't eat any raw or salted carp or other Asian fish, you just never know where I'll turn up next!
Editors. "Clonorchiasis." Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 2007. 17 Nov. 2007. http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/DPDX/HTML/Clonorchiasis.htm
Fan, P.C. "Viability of metacercariae of Clonorchis sinensis in Frozen or Salted Freshwater Fish." International Journal for Parasitology, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1998, April. 603-605.
Lin, Rui Lin, and Xueming Li, Chungeng Lan, Senhai Yu, Kawanaka Masanori. "Investigation on the Epidemiological Factors of Clonorchis sinensis Infection in an Area of South China." Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. Vol. 36, No 5, 2005. 1114-1117.
Shin, Hai-Rim, and Chae-Un Lee, Hyung-Jong Park, Sang-Young Seol, Jung-Myeong Chung, Ha-Chin Choi, Yoon-Ok Ahn, Takao Shigemastu. "Hepatitis B and C Virus, Clonorchis sinensis for the Risk of Liver Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Pusan, Korea." International Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 25, No. 5, 1996. 933-940.
Zhao, Qin-Ping, and Sung-Ung Moon, Hyeong-Woo Lee, Byoung-Kuk Na, Seung-Yull Cho, Yoon Kong, Ming-Sen Jiang, Ai-Hua…[continue]
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