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The Battle of Worldviews: A Case Study of Liver Fluke Infection in Khon Kaen, Thailand

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Control efforts to reduce infection from the parasitic flatworm Opisthorchis viverrini have progressed through understanding the epidemiology of Opisthorchis viverrini, antiparasitic drug developments, technological innovations, health education promoting cooking of fish, and improved hygienic defecation. Yet the problem persists. The case study method was used to examine the fundamental cause of the liver fluke infection problem. Evidence shows that the liver fluke–infected population does not care about living a long life. For them, suffering and death are simply a part of life, and expected. Thus, the cause(s) leading to death is not important. They believe morally bad actions, and predetermined fate associated with kamma in Buddhism, play a big role whether or not one is infected with the liver fluke. Health interventions may be made more effective if they take into account the liver fluke–infected population’s worldviews about ethics, morality, life, and death. We researchers should not feel concerned only about medically determined causes of death.

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