Custom Search



Infectious Disease Online

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.

Case 192 : Sparganosis

Visit Pinterest (drsampurna) : Image1 ; Image2 ; Image3 ; Image4 ; Image5 ; Image6 ; Image7 ; Image8 ; Image9

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.


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)






Infectious Disease Online


Pathology Quiz Online 


Paediatric Pathology Online


Pancreatic Pathology Online




Endocrine Pathology Online


Eye Pathology Online


Ear Pathology Online


Cardiac Path Online


Pulmonary Pathology Online


Lung Tumour Online




Nutritional Pathology Online


Environmental Pathology Online


Soft Tissue Tumour Online


GI Path Online-India


Gallbladder Pathology Online


E-book - History of Medicine  


Microscope - Seeing the Unseen





Privacy Policy  

Advertising Policy

Copyright 2019