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Pathology of Human Sparganosis

Dr Sampurna Roy MD

 

Human sparganosis is an infectious disease caused by the plerocercoid larvae (spargana) of various diphyllobothroid tapeworms of the genus Spirometra.

Sparganosis was discovered by Patrick Manson in China in 1882 and later described in humans by Stiles in 1908.

More than 1600 cases of sparganosis have been documented worldwide, mostly in east and southeast Asia [ China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand]. 

Sporadic cases have been reported in South America, Europe, and Africa, and several cases have been described in travellers returning from endemic regions.

In humans, spargana invade the brain, eyes, central nervous system (CNS), breast, and subcutaneous tissues.

The disease causes local tissue damage, blindness, paralysis, and even death, and are a major threat to human health.

Sparganosis most often presents clinically as subcutaneous lesions of the chest, abdominal wall, and extremities.

Routes of infection:

1) Direct ingestion of live plerocercoid larva via the consumption of raw second intermediate hosts (amphibians, reptiles, avians, mammals, etc.).

2) Consumption of water containing Cyclops species infected with procercoid larva.

3) Use of the flesh or skin of infected frogs or snakes as a poultice.

4) Infection in the ankle area suggests that the host acquired the infection by standing in water bodies contaminated with cyclops.

Serum immunology testing with ELISA is a very reliable method for preoperative diagnosis of sparganosis.

Treatment mostly involves surgical removal of the worms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit: Case by Dr Yutaka Tsutsumi

 

Further reading:

Eberhard ML, Thiele EA, Yembo GE, Yibi MS, Cama VA, Ruiz-Tiben E. Thirty-Seven Human Cases of Sparganosis from Ethiopia and South Sudan Caused by Spirometra Spp. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2015;93(2):350-355. 

Lescano AG, Zunt J. Other cestodes: sparganosis, coenurosis and Taenia crassiceps cysticercosis. Handbook of clinical neurology. 2013;114:335-345

Boonyasiri A, Cheunsuchon P, Suputtamongkol Y, et al. Nine Human Sparganosis Cases in Thailand with Molecular Identification of Causative Parasite Species. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2014;91(2):389-393.

Jo GD, Lee JY, Hong S-T, Kim JH, Han JK. Presumptive case of sparganosis manifesting as a hepatic mass: A case report and literature review. World Journal of Radiology. 2016;8(10):846-850.

 

 

Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)


 

 

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