Paragonimiasis is a disease caused by parasites called flukes (flatworms), most commonly Paragonimus westermani. There are other Paragonimus species that can cause disease in humans. The major forms of disease are pulmonary (lung) and extrapulmonary (outside of the lung, such as in the abdomen or brain). People are infected through ingestion of raw or undercooked freshwater crab or crayfish. Infections with this parasite are rare but several cases occurred in Orange County in persons who ate raw freshwater Japanese crabs, known as sawagani, during a restaurant-associated outbreak in 2006.
Paragonimiasis is not listed separately on the list of reportable diseases but falls under the category of an Unusual Disease for reporting. To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180 or fax records to 714-560-4050.
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