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Slow-killing Parasites Show True Colors in Vietnam Veterans after Decades, finds VA Study

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Published on : Nov 23, 2017

Hundreds of Vietnam veterans have been tested positive for the presence of a slow-killing parasite in their bodies, which may have infected them during the fight in the jungles of Southeast Asia. This spring, the Department of Veterans Affairs had authorized a small-scale pilot study to analyze the connection between a rare bile duct cancer and liver flukes ingested via uncooked or raw fish. It could take decades for symptoms to show face. However, patients have been often found to be in incredible pain by then, with only a few months to survive.

Parasites Live for Decades without Making Hosts Sick

Out of the 50 samples submitted and tested at South Korea’s Seoul National University, as said by tropical medicine specialist, Sung-Tae Hong, 20.0% had been reported positive or close to positive for liver fluke antibodies. Hong had been surprised with the results, further saying that the research is still underway and that there could be false results involved. Spokesman Christopher Goodman of the Northport VA Medical Center has confirmed that the samples had been collected by the New York facility and sent them to the laboratory. The parasites have been mostly found in Asia, infecting an approximately 25 million people there. However, they are rarely found in Americans.

It was after the issue had been raised by The Associated Press that the VA study had begun, along with a call for a wider research into cancer-stricken and liver fluke veterans made by New York’s Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader.