AIM: To investigate prevalence of Clonorchis sinensis in patients with gastrointestinal symptoms, and the relation of the infection to hepatobiliary diseases in 26 hospitals in Korea.
METHODS: Consecutive patients who had been admitted to the Division of Gastroenterology with gastrointestinal symptoms were enrolled from March to April 2005. Of those who had been diagnosed with clonorchiasis, epidemiology and correlation between infection and hepatobiliary diseases were surveyed by questionnaire.
RESULTS: Of 3080 patients with gastrointestinal diseases, 396 (12.9%) had clonorchiasis and 1140 patients (37.2%) had a history of eating raw freshwater fish. Of those with a history of raw freshwater fish ingestion, 238 (20.9%) patients had clonorchiasis. Cholangiocarcinoma was more prevalent in C. sinensis-infected patients than non-infected patients [34/396 (8.6%) vs 145/2684 (5.4%), P = 0.015]. Cholangiocarcinoma and clonorchiasis showed statistically significant positive cross-relation (P = 0.008). Choledocholithiasis, cholecystolithiasis, cholangitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and biliary pancreatitis did not correlate with clonorchiasis.
CONCLUSION: Infection rate of clonorchiasis was still high in patients with gastrointestinal diseases in Korea, and has not decreased very much during the last two decades. Cholangiocarcinoma was related to clonorchiasis, which suggested an etiological role for the parasite.