Friday, April 18, 2008

Helminth Infection of the Skin

Swimmer's itch is Cercarial Dermatitis. It results when bird (usually ducks, geese) schistosome eggs hatch and the resulting larvae infect a particular type of snail. Cercaria, from infected snails, are released into the water waiting to infect an unsuspecting duck. When the cercaria infect humans (the wrong host) a skin eruption occurs because the bird schistosome cercaria cannot develop further.

Cercarial dermatitis in a swimmer.

Another type of helminth skin infection that can be found in the USA is cutaneous larval migrans.

Cutaneous larval migrans results when roundworms that normally infect dogs or cats infect a human instead. The roundworm cannot develop normally because it is in the wrong host. Thus it wanders around under the skin.

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