Definition of Gnathostomiasis

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Gnathostomiasis: A disease due to the migration of an immature roundworm called Gnathostoma. Migration just under the skin causes migratory, painful, itchy swellings. Migration to other tissues can result in cough, blood in the urine, eye involvement and, most seriously, meningitis and encephalitis.

People become infected by eating undercooked fish or poultry or drinking water containing the worm's larvae. Once mainly in Asia, this worm has emerged as an important parasite in Mexico. Removal and identification of the worm is both diagnostic and therapeutic. Treatment is surgical removal and use of the antiparasitic drug albendazole.

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