Investigation of Parasites in Crabs

Four gentleman from China visited the RMBR from 5th to 11th Jan 2009. They are (Most left) Dr. Zhang Zhiping from the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, (Third from left) Professor Zhou Xianmin from the Department of Parasitology, Medical College of Nanchang University, (Second from right) Professor Peng Weidong from the Institute of Jiangxi Medical Science Research, Nanchang University and (Most right) Dr. Zou Jiexin from the Department of Parasitology, Medical College of Nanchang University. They were hosted by Prof. Peter Ng (Third from right) and Dr. Ng Ngan Kee (Second from left).

Dr. Zhang and Prof. Peng work on parasites, while Prof. Zhou and Dr. Zou work on both parasites and crabs. They were here to look at the crabs in the Zoological Reference Collection as they are investigating on Paragonimus westermani (oriental lung fluke) which can be found in crabs.

Human infection with P. westermani occurs by eating inadequately cooked or pickled crab or crayfish that harbor the parasite. The parasites penetrate through the intestinal and abdominal wall and diaphragm into the lungs, where they become encapsulated and develop into adults. The worms can also reach other organs and tissues, such as the brain and striated muscles, respectively. Infections may persist for 20 years in humans.

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