cutaneous larva migrans
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Cutaneous Larva Migrans
Cutaneous larvae migrans is a parasitic skin disease caused by a hookworm larvae that usually infests dogs, cats, and other animals. Humans can pick up the infection by walking barefoot on soil or beaches contaminated with animal feces.
Cutaneous larvae migrans (also called "creeping eruption" or "ground itch") is found in southeastern and Gulf states, and in tropical developing countries.
The hookworms that cause the condition are small, round blood-sucking worms that infest about 700 million people around the world. Cutaneous larvae migrans occurs most often among children, those who crawl beneath raised buildings, and sunbathers who lie down on wet sand contaminated with hookworm larvae.
Causes and symptoms
After an animal passes feces that are infested with hookworm eggs, the eggs hatch into infective larvae that are able to penetrate human skin (even through solid material, such as a beach towel). The larvae are commonly found in shaded, moist, or sandy areas (such as beaches, a child's sandbox, or areas underneath a house), where they are easily picked up by bare feet or buttocks.
In minor infestations, there may be no symptoms at all. In more severe cases, a red elevation of the skin (papule) appears within a few hours after the larvae have penetrated the skin. This usually arises first in areas that are in contact with the soil, such as the feet, hands, and buttocks.
Between a few days and a few months after infection, the larvae begin to migrate beneath the skin, leaving extremely itchy red lines that may be accompanied by blisters. These red lines usually appear at the top of the sole of the foot or on the buttocks.
Tyically, the larvae travel through the bloodstream, to the lungs, and then migrate into the mouth where they are swallowed and attach to the small intestine lining. There they mature into adult worms. In cases where the larvae migrate through the lungs, they can produce anemia, cough, and pneumonia, in addition to the itchy rash.
The condition can be diagnosed by microscopic inspection of feces which can reveal hookworm eggs. In addition visual inspection of the skin would reveal telltale itchy red lines and blisters.
People without intestinal symptoms do not need treatment, since the worms will eventually die or be excreted. Thiabendazole or albendazole are used to treat the infestation. Mild infections can be treated by applying one of the drugs to the skin along the tracks and the normal skin surrounding the area. Thiabendazole also can be given internally, but taken this way it can cause side effects including dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
No matter how severe an infestation, with adequate treatment patients recover completely. However, if the patient scratches the lesions open, the areas can become vulnerable to bacterial infection.
Larvae — Immature forms of certain worms.
In the United States, the prevalence of dogs and cats with hookworms is the reason why the infective larvae are found so commonly in soil and sand. The play habits of children, together with their attraction to pets, puts them at high risk for hookworm infection and cutaneous larvae migrans.
Human hookworm infestation can be prevented by practicing good personal hygiene, deworming pets, and not allowing children to play in potentially contaminated environments.
Turkington, Carol A., and Jeffrey S. Dover. Skin Deep: An A-Z of Skin Disorders, Treatments and Health. 2nd ed. New York: Facts on File, 1998.
larva[lahr´vah] (pl. lar´vae) (L.)
1. an independent, immature stage in the life cycle of an animal, in which it is markedly unlike the parent and must undergo changes in form and size to reach the adult stage.
2. something that resembles such an immature animal.
larva cur´rens a rapidly progressive creeping eruption caused by autoinoculation of larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis that migrate to and mature at the anus in intestinal infections with the parasite.
cutaneous larva mi´grans (larva mi´grans) a convoluted threadlike skin eruption that appears to migrate, caused by the burrowing beneath the skin of roundworm larvae, particularly of the species Ancylostoma; similar lesions are caused by the larvae of botflies. Called also creeping eruption.
ocular larva migrans infection of the eye with larvae of the roundworm Toxocara canis or T. cati, which may lodge in the choroid or retina or migrate to the vitreous; on the death of the larvae, a granulomatous inflammation occurs, the lesion varying from a translucent elevation of the retina to massive retinal detachment and pseudoglioma.
visceral larva migrans a condition due to prolonged migration by the skin larvae of animal nematodes in human tissue other than skin; commonly caused by larvae of the roundworms Toxocara canis and T. cati.
cu·ta·ne·ous lar·va mi·grans
a migratory serpiginous or netlike tunneling in the skin, with marked pruritus, caused by wandering hookworm larvae not adapted to intestinal maturation in humans; especially common in the eastern and southeastern coastal U.S. and other tropical and subtropical coastal areas; various strains of hookworms of dogs and cats have been implicated, chiefly Ancylostoma braziliense of dog and cat feces from beaches and sandboxes in the U.S., but also Ancylostoma caninum of dogs, Uncinaria stenocephala, the European dog hookworm, and Bunostomum phlebotomum, the cattle hookworm; Strongyloides species of animal origin may also contribute to human cutaneous larva migrans.
cutaneous larva migransA condition caused by larval infestation of the skin by the hookworm Ancylostoma braziliense.
Red, raised, tunnelling of skin surface, with severe itching.
Acquired on beaches or moist sandy areas.
cu·ta·ne·ous lar·va mi·grans(kyū-tā'nē-ŭs lahr'vă mī'granz)
An advancing serpiginous or netlike tunneling in the skin, with marked pruritus, caused by wandering hookworm larvae not adapted to intestinal maturation in humans; especially common in the eastern and southern coastal U.S. and other tropical and subtropical coastal areas; various hookworms of dogs and cats have been implicated, chiefly Ancylostoma braziliense in the U.S., but also A. caninum of dogs, Uncinaria stenocephalia, the European dog hookworm, and Bunostomum phlebotomum, the cattle hookworm; Strongyloides species of animal origin may also contribute to human cutaneous larva migrans.